22 Jun 2012

Campaigning wrapping up ahead of PNG election

10:28 am on 22 June 2012

Campaigning is wrapping up in the Papua New Guinea province of East Sepik ahead of polling in the general elections starting this weekend.

Voters in this northern province have a record number of candidates to choose from and are also tasked with deciding the immediate political future of the country's first post-independence prime minister, Sir Michael Somare.

Johnny Blades reports.

"Sir Michael has campaigned extensively for his National Alliance party around the country in recent weeks, and has concentrated his efforts on East Sepik in the past couple of days. With many in the province still upset at the way the former Prime Minister was illegally ousted as a Member of Parliament last year, Sir Michael is expected to win back the regional seat. Overall there are 165 candidates contesting the 7 East Sepik seats. Remote parts of the province, such as Yangoru-Saussia electorate, with an unprecedented 27 candidates vying for office, are seeing a flurry of election rallies. Among these events, a crowd of thousands turned out in Yangoru district yesterday to hear Sir Michael speak as his eighth and probably last general election campaign nears an end."