1 Mar 2012

Calls persist for PNG elections delay despite PM's insistence on original schedule

4:10 pm on 1 March 2012

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says the general election will go ahead as scheduled in the middle of the year.

This comes as the Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen rejects speculation about a possible delay to polling, insisting preparations for elections are on track.

However, as Johnny Blades reports, calls for a delay persist.

"The deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah continues to press for a delay, saying parliament is looking at deferring the election for 12 months. He describes it as the best way to allow the O'Neill government to implement its major policies and be re-elected. But the Electoral Commissioner has rejected claims by Mr Namah and other MPs that the electoral roll is behind schedule, saying the remaining 25 percent of it should be completed in two months. In contrast to his deputy's calls, Peter O'Neill claims there is no intention by the government to defer elections. He says that concerns about the rolls should be addressed by an invitation to UN experts to check on them before parliament finalises election arrangements."