26 Jun 2002

PNG election to result in new house by July 18

6:04 pm on 26 June 2002

Voting in Papua New Guinea's election is yet to be completed, but the speaker has called for the new parliament to meet on July the 18th.

Bernard Narakobi, who is one of 36 candidates contesting the Wewak Open seat, says to meet the requirements of the constitution the government must be formed before July the 23rd.

Mr Narakobi told the National newspaper that party with the largest number of supporters would be asked to form a new administration.

His comment comes as seven of the 109 seats have been declared while voting is yet to begin in some constituencies.

There are continued reports of election-related violence and a range of problems causing delays.

In Chimbu province, seven women are reported to have been raped in retaliation for the fatal shooting of a girl by a supporter.

In Kundiawa, MP Joseph Wamil is reported to have been arrested for being in possession of an unlicensed pump-action shotgun.

Funding delays and weather problems have delayed voting by up to ten days.

The main contractor to fly election materials has withdrawn its services saying the electoral commission has failed to make agreed payments.

The decision by Pacific Helicopters is likely to affect polling in three highlands provinces.

In the North Fly electorate, boat operators are awaiting cash payment before they transport electoral officials.

Counting in Mount Hagen for the seven seats in western highlands is being held up by staff wanting to be paid their allowances.

And police are reported to be refusing to provide security also because of outstanding allowances.