PNG opposition leader's election declared invalid

9:35 am on 3 May 2016

Papua New Guinea's opposition leader Don Polye's 2012 election victory has been stayed by the National Court.

The member for Kandep in PNG, Don Polye.

The member for Kandep in PNG, Don Polye. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

The runner-up in Mr Polye's Kandep electorate, Alfred Manase, successfully applied for a recount of a number of disputed ballot boxes.

Mr Polye has told local media he blames agents in the Electoral Commission for an error which led to the stay order.

It remains unclear whether Mr Polye remains an MP while the recount is underway, but in a statement following the court decision, the prime minister Peter O'Neill referred to him as a "suspended" MP.

Mr O'Neil's also welcomed another court ruling which dealt a political blow to Mr Polye: the Supreme Court's dismissal of his challenge to the constitutionality of a massive loan from the Swiss bank, UBS.

Mr Polye had alleged the prime minister circumvented the rules in taking out the controversial US$1.2 billion loan in 2014 without consulting parliament.