15 Jul 2002

PNG's electoral commissioner has no plans for fresh elections to be held in the Highlands

11:02 am on 15 July 2002

Papua New Guinea's electoral commissioner, Reuben Kaiulo, says he will not give in to demands for fresh elections to be held in the Highlands.

Voting in these province has been over shadowed by violence and electoral fraud.

Mr Kaiulo says voters and elections workers have been injured and killed by supporters of rival candidates, and there can be no question of new elections until calm is restored .

But he says no decision to re- run the elections in the Highlands can be made without the advice of returning officers.

He says so far there have been no reports from returning officers in any of the Highland troublespots calling for fresh elections.

But last week, local papers reported that the province's election manager, Alwynn Jimmy, had written to the Electoral Commission asking for fresh elections for the province.

The Commissioner also rejected criticism of his actions by PNG's Prime Minister, Sir Mekere Morauta.

Sir Mekere demanded last week that the commissioner come out of hiding and take control of what he called the violent and chaotic national elections.

But Mr Kaiulo says he or his officials have been in constant contact with the government.

He says he has stayed silent until now because he did not want to conduct an argument with the Prime Minister through the media