10 Jul 2012

PNG's Somare criticises Electoral Commission over early counting

7:45 pm on 10 July 2012

The leader of the National Alliance Party says the decision to allow early vote counting for the general election in some parts of Papua New Guinea is a blatant show of bias by the Electoral Commission.

Sir Michael Somare has written to the Electoral Commissioner, to lodge a complaint over the decision to begin counting while other areas are just beginning to poll votes.

Counting began early in the electorate of the caretaker Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill.

The early announcement of Mr O'Neill's big win in Ialibu/Pangia came while polling was yet to begin in Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Eastern Highlands and Simbu.

Sir Michael says it is unacceptable that the Electoral Commission has not adhered to its own programme.

He says it is important that these elections resolve the political crisis that saw him ousted as Prime Minister.

The Commissioner, Andrew Trawen, earlier said counting is being conducted according to PNG's electoral rules.

Sir Michael says the Electoral Commission cannot continue to encourage the illegitimacy of the Peter O'Neill regime by prematurely counting in his electorate and allowing delays to counting in other electorates.