23 Jun 2012

Voting in PNG general election begins

4:38 am on 23 June 2012

Polling in Papua New Guinea's general election starts today.

Over two weeks, an estimated 4.5 million eligible voters are entitled to vote across the country's 22 provinces.

Johnny Blades reports from Port Moresby.

"After months of political controversy and debate among MPs about whether the five-yearly poll should be delayed, PNG is finally going to the polls. Polling booths open in many but not all of the electorates today. Polling is conducted over a number of days in all provinces except in the National Capital District and all seven Highlands provinces where polling takes place on one day only due to security concerns. Included in the elections for the first time are the newly created Highlands provinces of Hela and Jiwaka. Police and military have been deployed in large numbers to the Highlands, hoping to counter fighting between supporters of rival candidates as well as ballot box theft and the buying of votes, which some reports say has intensified since PNG adopted the preferential voting system."