18 Jul 2002

Former PNG PM wants court to decide validity of poll extension

5:21 pm on 18 July 2002

A former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has asked for a court ruling on the validity of last week's decision by the Electoral Commissioner to extend the elections by two weeks.

Writs orginally were to be returned by last Monday with the Parliament to meet by today, but the Commissioner made the extension because of delays in voting and the count after widespread violence and intimidation. .

Sir Michael's National Alliance Party is leading the poll, and will have the first opportunity to see if it can form the Government.

Our correspondent in Port Moresby Peter Niesi has more.

"Sir Michael Somare yesterday filed a Supreme court reference wanting to know whether the writs should have been returned on July 15th and if his case is heard and the court aligns itself with his reasoning then he wants to know if there is a vacuum in the executive government and in the legislature and even further to know if the decision is that the government should not have extended the elections so his National Alliance party is in government so that issue is also in front of the court. The hearing is at 1:30pm today"