23 Sep 2003

PNG parliament clerk says governor general election was proper

4:15 pm on 23 September 2003

The clerk of Papua New Guinea's parliament has rejected newspaper claims that the Constitution and the Organic Law were breached during last weeks election of Sir Albert Kipalan as Governor-General elect.

Ano Pala says despite newspaper claims, there is law specifying a limit on the number of candidates who may nominate for the post.

He says such a limit could deprive credible and eligible Papua New Guineans from contesting the election.

The Clerk also said the media had wrongly stated that the Speaker had cast a deciding vote in favour of Sir Albert.

He says the law is clear that if there is an equal number of votes to decide who will hold the office, then a further ballot is ordered by the Speaker and if that vote is also tied the ballot is adjourned for one sitting day.

Mr Pala says the final ballot last week indicated 46 votes for Sir Albert and 45 for the runner-up.

Ninety one MPs were present during the ballot - the same number revealed by the count

Mr Pala says the Speaker of the House has instructed him to take appropriate action against persons involved in the misrepresentation of events as it seriously demeans the MPs in the House and the dignity of the Papua New Guinea parliament.