Campaigns to End at Friday Midnight
BY GORETHY KENNETH
and JEFFREY ELAPA
Campaigning across the country will end at midnight on Friday, June 23. And polling officially starts the next day.
The PNG Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato confirmed the dates and warned candidates that no loud hailers and public gatherings will be allowed after Friday, adding that posters and banners will be allowed including period of polling.
For online, Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari, speaking in his capacity as inter-department election committee chairman, said that every political party must take heed of the end of campaign period because continuing campaigning on social media will have some consequences.
Gamato and Lupari are currently touring the Highlands Region to conduct IDEC meetings also attended by Police Commissioner Gari Baki, and PNG Defence Force commander Brigadier-General Gilbert Toropo. Correctional Services Commissioner Michael Waipo did not tour.
Mr Gamato also said that the decision to appoint new Hela election steering committee members had been supported by the Electoral Commission.
He said that the appointment of the new members which included the provincial administrator William Bando as the chairman spoke volumes of the province as it prepared for a peaceful election.
However, Open and Regional candidates in Hela Province presented a petition to the Lupari inter-department election committee.
Sidelined Hela Governor and Member for Komo-Margarima Francis Potape said from Tari that a petition signed by the majority of the Open and Regional candidates intended to conduct a free and fair election in the province was given to the team calling on the electoral commissioner to address the concerns surrounding elections in the province.
“Our aim is to allow the province and the people to be the winners of the election, not candidates winning through illegal means by hijacking the process through intimidation and undue influences,” Mr Potape said.
He said they want Mr Gamato to agree with their demands and they include approval of a new and independent provincial election steering committee compromising of the head of PNG Defence Force members on the ground in Hela, the Hela police commander, the Hawa jail commander, the senior provincial magistrate and other members of the community and public service.