6 Jul 2012

Independents "significant force" in PNG election

11:25 am on 6 July 2012

The executive director of Papua New Guinea's Institute of National Affairs says independent politicians are set to play an important role in the formation of the new government in the coming weeks.

Paul Barker's comment comes as polling continues in PNG's general election.

Although the two-week polling schedule was originally scheduled to finish today the Electoral Commission says polling will have had to be extended by a few days due to a series of delays.

However in preliminary results for ten of the 111 seats, independents lead in five.

And with independents accounting for over half of the record total of 3435 candidates contesting, Paul Barker says they stand to win a good slice of the vote.

"When you've got the right conditions of balances of power, independents become very powerful. But in PNG where you have a much larger proportion of independents, yes, they're a significant force to be reckoned with and also they often do contain some of the most capable members of parliament, within those independent ranks."