Govt chief sec's role in PNG election defended

7:20 am on 1 July 2017
PNG voters have experienced problems with the electoral roll and polling schedule in the 2017 election.

PNG voters have experienced problems with the electoral roll and polling schedule in the 2017 election. Photo: RNZ Pacific/Johnny Blades

Papua New Guinea's Electoral Commissioner has defended the election role of the government's chief secretary.

Isaac Lupari's appointment as chairman of the elections steering committee is under criticism following ballot paper, scheduling and electoral roll problems midway through the two-week polling period.

The leader of the National Alliance party, Patrick Pruaitch, said the many flaws in the electoral process reflected an unprecedented government interference in the election.

Yet the commissioner, Patilius Gamato, denied claims that Mr Lupari, and not him, was in charge of running the election.

He said he didn't see anything wrong with a close ally of the prime minister being chair of the steering committee.

"His role as chief secretary (is) to mobilise all of government, and government secretaries, secretaries of departments, heads of agencies, to support me as Electoral Commissioner to help in the conduct of the election," said Mr Gamato.

Meanwhile, Mr Pruaitch said lack of preparedness by electoral teams had been adding to further polling delays in the election.

He said this made it inevitable that in addition to the thousands of people whose names are not on the common roll many thousands of other citizens will be unable to vote by the time the polls close.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs