11 Nov 2002

Elections in PNG's Southern Highlands delayed by security risk

7:53 am on 11 November 2002

Attempts to complete Papua New Guinea's general elections in the Southern Highlands have been postponed following police advice.

The Acting Electoral Commissioner, Andrew Trawen, had earlier set Thursday as the deadline for nominations to be accepted.

The results for a number of seats in the Southern Highlands were not declared in the general elections because of the violence, interference and intimidation.

Mr Trawen said the Electoral Commission did not want to move without security guarantees from the police and what he called Southern Highlands warlords and their illegal armies.

According to the police brief, the security risk remains high.

The advice he had been given was the elections must be postponed to April to avoid trouble over the Christmas and New Year festive season.

Mr Trawen said there was also no money to pay for the elections and by re-scheduling it gave the government more time to find the funds and resore law and order.