27 Jun 2002

PNG election nearing end of two weeks of polling

5:58 pm on 27 June 2002

A second week of voting in Papua New Guinea ia about to end and the People's Labour Party is seeking legal advice over whether to take one result to the Court of Disputed Returns.

Only seven of the 109 seats have been declared so far in an election marred by irregularities and delays.

The deputy leader People's Labour Party and candidate, Matthew Minape, says there was foul play in the whole polling process in Lae city.

Mr Minape told the Post Courier that the involvement of the Lae District Administration staff and management of the Local Level Government in the polling and counting of votes, constituted a conflict of interest.

In the Eastern Highlands, the election manager, Abraham Wari, and two of his staff are reported to have been threatened in the lead-up to counting.

Mr Wari has decided to count votes from the safety of his home and under the protection of a group of youths.

Polling in Bougainville is complete with all ballot boxes expected to be in Buka today.

The speaker of parliament, Bernard Narakobi, says he wants election reforms to define what is refreshments and hospitality and to ban pig-killing and feasts to induce votes.

Mr Narakobi also wants voters to have identity cards, describing the current election as the worst the country has had.