11 Jun 2002

PNG Highlands electoral manager says voting well be suspended if violence break out

5:20 pm on 11 June 2002

The Electoral manager for Papua New Guinea's five highland provinces says voting will be suspended if there is violence at the opening of the two week voting period this Saturday.

Kala Rawali says the five provinces are identified as high risk areas and if violence erupts there voting will be suspended until further notice.

Police and NGOs have been appealing to the public for calm in the build up to the vote.

Mr Rawali says the army is on standby to assist police if violence occurs in any of the five highland provinces.

Mr Rawali says polling in the highlands provinces will only be for one day and that each region will have different voting days.

"We've asked the police to come in to assist. We have one day in each place, that is to move the man-power from one area to the other, you know, so that we have enough police, just in case something does flare up.If we see there's tribal fights, and it's likely that our officials will be hurt, we are not going to conduct the elections, it's paramount for the safety of our officials."

Kala Rawali