26 Nov 2009

PNG's Kandep by-election vote counting expected to begin over weekend

3:07 pm on 26 November 2009

Papua New Guinea's Electoral Commissioner expects counting of the votes in the Kandep by-election to begin over the weekend.

Polling officials were this week ordered to return to the electorate to hold a second poll in three areas where last week's polling was abandoned due to violence.

Andrew Trawen says candidate supporters were fighting each other there, making voting impossible.

He says to avoid further trouble he's transferred vote counting to Goroka in the Eastern Highlands, a move for which he's been highly criticised by that province's leaders.

"As a matter of courtesy I should write to them but the situation at that time was tense so I have to be very very cautious in what I do. The environment in Kandep and Wagen and Hagen is not conducive for the counting because the spill-over of the fighting may continue into those areas. Goroka is a bit out of Kandep and Wabag and Western Highlands, that's the reason why I had to move it to Goroka."

Andrew Trawen, Papua New Guinea's Electoral Commissioner.