Dr Temu scores decisive victory
December 17, 2003
Dr Puka Temu yesterday retained
the Abau Open seat in a decisive victory over his rivals in the
first election held using the Limited Preferential Voting (LPV)
Dr Temu was declared winner of the by-election for
the Abau Open electorate at 5.48pm in Port Moresby to reclaim the
seat he lost following a Court of Disputed Returns ruling in March
In doing so, he becomes the first person in PNG to
win an election using the newly introduced LPV system.
victory is also a boost for the National Alliance that now has 22
members in Parliament.
Dr Temu polled a total of 9,113 votes
during counting of the second preference votes to clinch victory on
the second day of counting.
After the votes in 18 of the 23
ballot boxes had been counted, the former minister had polled 6,978
votes to be ahead of his nearest rival Kilroy Genia who had 2,780
Having secured 54 per cent of votes at that stage, and
with the other four candidates struggling with 800 or less votes, Dr
Temu seemed certain to attain the absolute majority required (50 per
cent of total votes allowed) to win without having to count the
second and third preference votes.
But Wanigela strongman
Desmond Baira threw a spanner in the works when he polled 3,403
votes (90 per cent of votes) from two boxes from his stronghold area
to leapfrog Mr Genia into second place and reducing
tally to 48.9 per cent of total votes.
Dr Temu added a
handsome 1,506 votes from the last three ballot boxes to his tally,
but that wasn’t enough to get him over the 50 per cent
After all the first preference votes were counted, Dr
Temu polled 8,911 votes (or 47.9 per cent) of the 18,199 votes
allowed, followed by Mr Baira on 4,177 (30 per cent), and Mr Genia
on 3125 votes (17 per cent), followed by Vagi Mae (984 votes), Onea
Thavale (901 votes), and Gideon Aruai (101 votes).
Officer Frank Gabi declared that no candidate had secured the
absolute majority of 9,100 required to win, and ordered the counting
of the second preference votes.
Under LPV law, Mr Aruai who
had the least number of votes and was eliminated first, followed by
Dr Temu managed only 202 votes from a total of
1,017 second preference votes distributed from the two candidates,
but that was all he needed to get past the 9,100 votes required to
win the seat.
The final outcome was delayed by about 30
minutes after counting officials failed to account for four of Mr
Thavale’s 916 second preference votes.
Mr Gabi later
explained that a figure error could have occurred during counting of
the first preference votes, but said the discrepancy would not
affect the final result.
Acting Electoral Commissioner Andrew
Trawen said although the discrepancy would not affect the result,
election officials could not afford to make such mistakes in future,
especially in very closely contested races.