2 Dec 2009

Attack on returning officer further delays counting in PNG's Kandep by-election

9:07 pm on 2 December 2009

The counting process in Papua New Guinea's Kandep by-election has run into further difficulties after a returning officer was reportedly beaten up in Goroka by counting officials over unpaid allowances.

It's the latest disorder in a by-election in which both polling and counting have been marred by candidates' supporters fighting each other.

Polling officials were last week ordered to return to the electorate, in Enga province, to hold a second poll in three areas where polling in the previous week was abandoned due to violence.

Our correspondent Jonathan Tannos says counting, which had to be transferred to Eastern highlands province for security reasons, has now been further delayed.

"What has happened is the people responsible for bashing up the returning officer have gone into hiding around Goroka and that has literally put a stop to what would have been the second day of normal counting. So far only four ballot boxes have been counted."

Jonathan Tannos