12 Dec 2009

Extension granted for return of writs in PNG's by-election

2:03 pm on 12 December 2009

Papua New Guinea's Governor-General has signed instruments to allow for a one-week extension to next Friday for the return of writs for the Kandep by-election.

The return of writ was originally set for today but violence between supporters of different candidates, change of counting venue, heavy rain and complaints over the distribution of ballot boxes have caused delays.

The newspaper, The National, reports that Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen visited the Governor-General yesterday to seek the extension.

In the vote counting centre in Goroka yesterday, half a day was spent on arguments between scrutineers and election officials over the fate of a number of disputed ballot boxes.

Election officials allowed votes in six of them to be counted, leaving 12 disputed boxes.

Former Kandep MP Don Polye reportedly maintains a comfortable lead over the other candidates with around 50 percent of the vote so far, with Alfred Manase next best with around 12%.