Polling extended in PNG's West Sepik by-election

3:43 pm on 27 July 2015

Papua New Guinea's Electoral Commission is under fire again due to poor voter turnout in the West Sepik provincial by-election.

Vanimo harbour, West Sepik province, Papua New Guinea.

Vanimo harbour, West Sepik province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

The Commission has extended polling to next week amid delays to transportation of polling teams due to bad weather and technical issues.

As of late last week, a large majority of the 84 polling teams across West Sepik were yet to complete polling, including all stations in remote Telefomin district.

The Electoral Commissioner Sir Andrew Trawen admits voter numbers are well down on the turnout at the 2012 national elections.

A candidate for West Sepik Governor, John Tekwie, says polling was poorly advertised.

"There is no official announcement properly done where people are aware of the time and place for polling. It's a big problem. They haven't even publicised it in the public media."

Meanwhile, another candidate, Paul Negai says the Commission doesn't appear to have learnt from previous elections how to improve the electoral process.

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