PNGEC sets new date for candidates
By OSEAH PHILEMON
THE Electoral Commission has set a new deadline for intending candidates for 2017 General Election to submit their bio-data.
An official from the commission confirmed that the new date is January 17, 2017.
The original date was December 16 – last Friday.
“All intending candidates – male and female – including sitting MPs are required to complete Form 29 and submit it with four passport-sized photos to PNGEC before or by Tuesday, January 17,” the official said.
“There’s no legal implication on Form 29.
“It is purely an administrative matter for the Electoral Commission in preparing for the 2017 national election”. The commission is creating a database for all intending candidates now so that when they nominate after the issue of writs on April 20, 2017, it would be easier and much faster to just cut and paste the candidates’ details already in the database, especially, their photos and party leader(if party endorsed) and print candidate posters for polling booths.” He further stated: “Intending candidates who are still not sure which political party will endorse them, should go ahead and complete Form 29 and put as ‘TBA’ (to be advised) on section for party.
“Unsure intending candidates who put party details on Form 29 now and nominate under another party when nominations open on 20th April 2017 will be put as ‘Independent’ unless they quickly advise PNGEC and clarify their status themselves.”
Recently Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato assured intending candidates and political parties that his team was committed to ensuring the smooth running of the 2017 general election.
Mr Gamato gave the assurance when responding to criticisms from the Opposition Leader Don Polye about the timing for intending candidates to submit their bio-data form to the commission.
Mr Polye said the December 16 deadline given by the Electoral Commission for intending candidates to submit their Candidate Bio-Data Form was too short.
In a letter to Mr Polye the Electoral Commissioner said the Commission was aware of the closing date for the completion and submission of Candidate Bio Data Forms which was at the close of nominations on Thursday, April 27, 2017 – according to the current election program.
However, the decision to inform intending candidates in advance so that they can prepare themselves to fill in the necessary required forms including their passport-sized photos before the nomination period is an administrative matter, Mr Gamato said.
“This is to ensure that when candidates nominate, their data is already in the system, thus making PNGEC’s job easier taking into consideration an anticipated high number of candidates for 2017 elections,” Mr Gamato said in the letter to Mr Polye.
“Secondly, in the light of recently proposed legislative amendments to the Organic Law on National Elections approved by the National Executive Council which will see the reduction of the campaign period from eight weeks to four weeks, PNGEC needs to have all the bio- data for intending candidates (Form 29) and photos in quickly.
“Early submission of candidate bio-data and photos will make PNGEC’s job of easier because when candidates nominate when nominations open, their data is already in the system for the commission to quickly generate candidate posters for printing in large quantities for all the polling booths nationwide.’’