PNG candidate fee hike a double blow, says Basil

7:21 pm on 22 August 2016
Papua New Guinea deputy opposition leader Sam Basil, the MP for Bulolo

Papua New Guinea deputy opposition leader Sam Basil, the MP for Bulolo. Photo: Supplied

The deputy leader of Papua New Guinea's opposition says those not in government will be seriously disadvantaged by plans to hike the nomination fee for election candidates.

The fee could be multiplied tenfold to 10,000 kina, according to PNG's prime minister Peter O'Neill.

Announcing the increase last week, Mr O'Neill said the increase was to offset a lack of funds for the Electoral Commission, which was struggling to prepare for next year's polls.

But the opposition's Sam Basil, who is also leader of the Pangu Pati, said the government had passed its failure to fund elections on to PNG citizens.

He said increasing the fee would advantage the wealthiest political groups and affect the rights of every citizen.

I think it's not only punishing the poor people, it's also punishing the political parties that do not enjoy the luxury of beingin government and being recognised by business houses who turn up and do their fundraisers, to donate money. Now some of us in the opposition, we do not have that luxury so it is a two-way blow to political parties and candidates who cannot afford it.

Sam Basil

The fee hike is expected to be put up for debate on the floor of parliament this week.

Given that a large majority of MPs in PNG's 111-seat parliament support the prime minister or are in his People's National Congress party, he said he expected the fee hike will be passed without much trouble.

However he urged people to ask their MPs to not support the fee hike as it was undemocratic.

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