5 Mar 2012

PNG leader reiterates commitment to elections as scheduled in June and July

4:37 pm on 5 March 2012

The Papua New Guinea prime minister, Peter O'Neill, has reiterated that his government will not try to defer national elections due in June and July.

There have been calls, including from his deputy Belden Namah, for the poll to be delayed.

PNG's parliament last month raised the idea of suspending the elections for up to 12 months so anti-fraud biometric voting systems could be installed, amid reports the electoral roll was only 60 per cent complete.

Since then, Mr Namah has been a vocal advocate of putting off the elections.

But on Sunday Mr O'Neill told an audience in Chimbu Province that his government will not defer the elections.

Mr O'Neill has always maintained publicly the 2012 poll must go ahead on time, but last week Mr Namah made a public appeal for a deferral, saying the government must continue.

He claimed the electoral commission has failed the people; that the census has failed and the government doesn't know how many people are in the country.