Nation (Papua New Guinea)
begins: 78 candidates in race for 3 seats
By James Apa Gumuno
May 25, 2004
POLLING in the by-elections for the Yangoru/Saussia Open,
Anglimp/South Waghi Open, and Chimbu Provincial electorates
get underway tomorrow. More than 1550 police personnel have
been deployed in the East Sepik, Western Highlands and Chimbu
provinces to ensure people cast their vote without trouble.
Voters in the three electorates are choosing their candidates
using the Limited Preferential Voting system for the first
time. A total of 79 candidates (Yangoru/Saussia ’Äî 18,
Anglimp/South Waghi ’Äî30, Chimbu - 31) are vying for the
three seats in Parliament. Police personnel are being drawn
from all parts of the country to carry out security operations
in the elections. They were also involved in awareness
campaign for a peaceful election. Polling in the Anglimp/South
Waghi electorate will be for one day only while for Chimbu
provincial, polling will go on for 11 days.
The police operation is costing the electoral commission about
K6.8 million. The commission will also be using five
helicopters and two fixed wing aircrafts to deploy polling and
security officials all over Chimbu province.
Deputy Police Commissioner and Chief of Operation Gari Baki
warned police personnel about proper conduct during the
polling period. Addressing them at a parade at the Kimininga
barracks in Mt Hagen, Mr Baki urged them to be transparent and
to uphold their code of conduct while performing their duties.
He warned them not to associate or become involved with
candidates and their politics because they would be severely
penalized if caught. Provincial police boss Superintendent
Wini Heano said they were ready for action and he expect
polling to be generally peaceful.
Mr Heano said 1200 security personnel would be deployed in
Anglimp/South Waghi. They would then move on to Chimbu
province. Mr Heano said he and election manager Sali Bunat
have agreed that counting of votes will take place in Minj and
not at the Kiminga police gymnasium.
Counting of votes would start on Monday and would take about
two weeks to complete because of the size of the electorate.
Election manager for Chimbu Joe Godfrey said polling in the
province would start with Karamui/Nomane tomorrow (Saturday)
followed by Guimne on Monday, Chuave on Wednesday, Sinasina/Yongomugl
on Thursday, Kundiawa/Gembogl on Saturday and Kerowagi
district on Monday, May 31.
The Electoral Commission is employing 500 polling officials in
Anglimp/South Waghi and 1500 in the Chimbu province.