Jamie wins poll: Beats close rival Wai 23,408 votes to 18,610

By Daniel Korimbao
Published June 10th 2004 in The National

JAMIE Maxtone-Graham is the new Member for Anglimp/South Wahgi electorate.  Mr. Maxtone-Graham was declared winner at 5.45 pm at the Minj counting centre by Returning Officer John Kilip yesterday afternoon.

According to police providing security in the area, there were singing and
dancing in the township of Minj, and along the road by supporters of Mr.
Maxtone-Graham, who were rejoicing the fact that they had finally wrestled the seat away from the Kudjip, Anglimp and Wurup people.
Mr. Maxtone-Graham, who is an Independent candidate, scored 23,408 votes (or 55.71%) in the final count to beat Pawa Wai, who finished runner-up with 18,610 votes (or 44.29% of votes).

Mr. Pawa, a Christian Democratic Party candidate, is the brother of Paul
Wai, whose death resulted in the by-election being called in this Western
Highlands electorate.

Mr. Maxtone-Graham contested the seat in 1997 as a People's Democratic Movement Party candidate and lost to Kuk Kuli. In 2002, he launched an assault on the NCD regional seat in an attempt to topple Bill Skate, but finished a close second.

Following the death of Paul Wai, Mr. Maxtone-Graham consulted village
elders, church and youth leaders, and felt he had a real chance of securing the seat in the by-election under the Limited Preferential Voting system.  But the other 30 candidates ensured he was given a run for his money.

After the count of the first preference votes, no candidates scored higher
than 10 per cent of the votes. Mr. Maxtone-Graham secured 8.63% of first preference votes to be in third place, behind William Roimb (9.28%) and Mr.Wai (8.68%).

But he began his surge as the least preferred candidates were eliminated.
He hit the lead midway through and never looked back. He reached the
threshold or absolute majority (set at 21,010) after Mr. Roimb was
eliminated and his second preference votes distributed.

Mr. Maxtone-Graham, who chaired the NCDC and Eda Ranu Board, is a close associate of Western Highlands governor Paias Wingti. But it is not known who the new Member-elect will side with when he enters Parliament to take his seat.