8 Jul 2002

Political scientist says electoral process broken down in PNG

4:21 pm on 8 July 2002

An Australian political scientist who has been monitoring the Papua New Guinea elections, says the electoral process has broken down in the Highlands provinces.

Dr Bill Standish, who has observed PNG politics for more than 30 years, says the manipulation of the roll, intimidation and ballot tampering are not new but this is the worst he has seen.

Dr Standish who is currently monitoring the count in Chimbu province, says there has been a lot of multiple voting there, sometimes organised by candidates.

He says the unreliable rolls have effectively been abandoned, but he says often the roll had been manipulated by candidates who had ensured additional names were added.

And Dr Standish says somethimes the candidate had a surplus of ballot papers from these bogus names.

"and these were divided up by candidates - they said we will give 100 to this person 100 to another, that is one thing that has happened.... or sometimes they have even been sold - people have literally sold votes to other candidates - the actual marking of the ballot papers has gone into the hands of the supporters of candidates, rather than the individual voters - so its a breakdown of the electoral process."