PNG's Southern Highlands poll count shifts provinces

1:59 pm on 11 August 2017

Vote counting for the troubled Southern Highlands regional seat has been moved to another province in Papua New Guinea's Highlands.

Mendi town on Saturday. Businesses were closed as the declaration of results stirred a violent reaction from some groups.

The situation in the provincial capital of Mendi remains tense following election-related violence. Photo: Supplied

Five people were killed in the provincial capital Mendi during the weekend, in fighting between supporters of two rival candidates for the regional seat.

PNG correspondent Melvin Levongo reported it was the only electorate still to be declared in the general election.

Southern Highlands province was the second province to go into polls, and so far declarations have been made for the five open electorates.

But the counting for the provincial seat is still in limbo as election-related violence is disturbing the counting centre in Mendi town, with a total of eight people having already been killed.

The counting was moved to Mt Hagen, the capital of neighbouring Western Highlands province, but received an unwelcome response from the Western Highlands election steering committee which said they too had their share of election violence and do not want another province to come to count in their province.

Meanwhile the ballot boxes for the Southern Highlands provincial seat are locked away in two 40-foot containers and these are at Mt Hagen police station under 24-hour surveillance.

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