28 Jun 2002

Former PNG prime minister Wingti poised to be elected to parliament

4:15 pm on 28 June 2002

A former Papua New Guinea prime minister, Paias Wingti, has established a solid lead in the election for a western highlands seat.

Preliminary results put Mr Wingti well ahead of Father Robert Lak who ousted him in 1997.

No more final results have been declared for two days as the election is about to enter its third and previosuly unscheduled week, with 7 electorates having their winners named.

Counting in the Hagen Open seat, also in the western highlands, has independent John McKup in the lead, with the incumbent Paul Pora in fourth place.

In the Tambul-Nebilyer Open seat, the leader is Mark Anis.

Vincent Auali, who is the sitting member and a part colleague of Mr Wingti and the prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta, is a distant fourth.

Mr Auali resigned in the middle of May as government minister after being cited by the leadership tribunal for alleged misconduct in office.

In East New Britain, counting has been due to get underway in Rabaul and Kokopo while it is still uncertain whether polling will be extended in Pomio where communication and weather problems have struck.

Counting in New Ireland is to get underway on Monday.

Questions are being raised in Port Moresby over activities surrounding MP elect Casper Wollom.

An internal police investigation is underway to determine why a police vehicle was used to transport a polling official, his team and a ballot box to a property owned by Mr Wollom.