18 Jun 2002

PNG Elections has chaotic start

4:36 pm on 18 June 2002

The electoral area manager for Papua New Guinea's five highlands regions is confident that the chaos surrounding the start of the national elections will settle down.

Kala Rawali says polling throughout the country will get better as the country progresses through its two week voting period.

In Lae city, hundreds of voters were turned away from several polling booths as many did not find their names on the 2002 Common roll.

In the Western Highlands, violence erupted in Mt Hagen leaving houses burned, a candidate assaulted, two vehicles damaged and five polling stations disrupted.

Also, ballot papers did not arrive at pollng stations on time because businesses had demanded they be paid cash before making any delivery.

Mr Rawali says other PNG provinces will have time to sort out their logistical problems before the start of their polling days.

"We're the first to go.We have a little bit of problem here and there, but I think the other provinces think that they will learn from us. Unless there are problems beyond our control like nature, you know, the weather."

Kala Rawali

Yesterday in Port Moresby, the Prime Minister, Sir Mekere Morauta was among thousands unable to cast votes because of missing ballot papers.