26 Mar 2007

PNG opposition leader says elections must go ahead with most looking forward to them

7:31 pm on 26 March 2007

The Papua New Guinea opposition leader, Peter O'Neill, says the government is behind the push to defer the elections because it is not confident it can win the poll in June.

The permanent parliamentary committee on law and order says the elections should be put off for a year because of threats to the electoral process from lawless elements in the Highlands provinces.

But Mr O'Neill says the MPs promoting that view are government backbenchers.

He says the government needs to ensure that the electoral process is fully resourced, including with security personnel in the troublesome Highlands provinces.

Mr O'Neill says the people must be given an opportunity to vote.

"I don't think it is necessary for the elections to be delayed any further despite the fact that there are one or two provinces in the country that are troublesome to both the government and the election officials, but the majority of the country remain confident and are looking forward to the coming elections."