11 Jul 2012

PNG election observers concerned at lack of urgency from polling staff

2:29 pm on 11 July 2012

The group observing the Papua New Guinea election from the Commonwealth says it has seen a lack of urgency to ensure that the polling schedule is met.

Polling has been extended into this week after widespread delays.

The group says while election officials have worked hard in challenging circumstances, the delays in the polling schedule are of concern, given their potential to confuse and disenfranchise voters,

Its chairperson, Vanuatu's Edward Natapei, says attention needs to be given to the further strengthening of election management

"The thing that we have observed is that there seems to be a lack of enthusiasm on behalf of the staff organising the voting in rural areas and members of the armed forces. In some cases [they] start very late, because of the late arrival of materials."

Edward Natapei says observers also noted that polling places often opened late and closed earlier than 6pm.