28 Jun 2012

Deficiencies cloud PNG polls

2:25 pm on 28 June 2012

A number of people in Papua New Guinea claim that their names are missing from the electoral roll as voters continue to experience frustrations during polling for the general election.

The two-week polling period is still in its first week and reports of eligible voters turning up to polling stations only to find their names aren't on the common roll have emerged in most of the provinces that have so far voted.

Delays in polling, either because of bad weather or electoral officials being late in opening up polling stations, continue to hamper voting in some provinces.

In the Highlands, some ballot boxes have been interfered with and, in the case of counting of votes from the newly created Hela province, electoral officials prevented by locals from taking the ballot boxes out of province for counting.

Polling has finished in Southern Highlands province with the counting set to take place in Tari in neighbouring Hela.

Our correspondent in Lae city, Oseah Philemon, says thousands of people there were turned away.

"Even our local member, Bart Philemon, who is a minister in the Cabinet of Peter O'Neill, Bart is the minister responsible for public service, he had his name on the common roll, but not that of his wife, his two daughters, and his son. Who had always voted in previous election."

Oseah Philemon says the electoral commissioner, Andrew Trawen, is gathering information about how many people can't vote, so a decision can be made.

Voting has finished in the National Capital District with counting to take place next Wednesday.

Our correspondent, Titi Gabi, reports there have been some arrests for double voting and voter impersonation.

Meanwhile, the candidate who was kidnapped in Enga by rival candidates has been released and several suspects detained by police.