11 Jul 2006

PNG electoral commission rejects by-election criticism

4:00 pm on 11 July 2006

The Papua New Guinea electoral commission is denying claims published in the Post Courier newspaper that a weekend by-election was "a shambles".

The paper said up to half the people enrolled to vote in the National Capital district by-election were turned away because their name was not on the roll.

Among other claims, the paper reported some elderly were stopped from voting when they could not remember their birth dates and people mistakenly listed as the opposite sex were also stopped from casting a ballot.

But Mark Karambi of the Electoral Commission says the claims are untrue.

"I asked the returning officers - these are the people in the field. They're telling us that people who showed up, had their names on the common roll, voted. Those who did not have their names on the common roll are the ones who did not enrol in the first place."

Mark Karambi says the by-election was the first test of the new voters' roll which replaced the previous discredited one.