18 Aug 2009

PNG political parties called on to better prepare candidates on voting system

9:35 pm on 18 August 2009

Papua New Guinea's political parties are being called on to better educate candidates and supporters about their responsibilities under the country's preferential voting system.

Former Transport Minister, Don Polye, has lost his seat after a court ruling that he could not have won the support of the vast majority of voters in Kandep in Enga Province in the 2007 general elections.

Transparency PNG's spokesperson, Richard Kassman, says in the wake of such a decision, it's important PNG continues to support the preference system, because it has been positive for the country.

But he says electoral officials need to be better resourced and backed up when they make potentially unpopular decisions.

And Mr Kassman says political parties need to show greater responsibility.

"There's a lot of candidates that come in that don't actually understand the laws and the rules and the regulations. That is really the responsibility of the political parties to educate and to have a party structure to run well within this system. That's lacking also. So a lot responsibility falls onto the Electoral Commission to educate candidates as to what they can and cannot do. In other jurisdictions they do less of that and focus more on managing the election."