14 Nov 2002

Progress in PNG's Southern Highlands but chief unhappy about election postponement

5:27 pm on 14 November 2002

A former premier of Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands is predicting that the province will return to normal within the next five months.

PNG media reports quote Yaungtine Koromba as saying that normalcy in the province will established and that it will be ready for its supplementary elections.

Mr Koromba, who is also a member of the Provincial Peace and Good Order Committee, said his team had drawn up a comprehensive restoration programme which will be launched on November the 22nd.

His comments come after the Electoral Commission decision to defer the provincial elections from January to April because of security concerns and a lack of funds.

The deferment has been criticised by some provincial leaders who claimed that the move would provoke anarchy and dictatorship in the region.

The Electoral Commission declared the elections in six Southern Highlands electorates invalid after violence, ballot tampering and voter intimidation hijacked the polling process there.