17 Apr 2007

Separate vote for restive PNG provinces

10:37 am on 17 April 2007

To guard against the possibility of violence during the national elections in Papua New Guinea in June, the poll in two of the provinces most prone to violence, Southern Highlands and Enga, will be conducted separately from the rest of the Highlands region.

The spokesperson for the electoral commission, Mark Karambi, says, at a conference last week in Wewak, a decision was made to put up to five thousand security personnel into these provinces, for a short time, while delaying the vote elsewhere.

He says for both Enga and Southern Highlands the intention is for a poll to be conducted consecutively over a single day.

"Other parts of the Highlands region will have to be put on hold and all the concentration will be made for Southern Highlands and Enga in terms of security personnel and all the logistical operations made in terms of security will be focussed on these provinces to ensure that the elections are conducted free, fair and peaceful."