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10 million ballot papers printed, PNG Electoral Commission sets candidate criteria

The  production of the 2017 Papua New Guinea election ballot papers will be completed today and shipped out of Semarang, Indonesia, to Port Moresby tomorrow.

About 10 million ballot papers have been printed and will be packed in containers and shipped, a process which will take at least three weeks to arrive in Port Moresby.

PNG Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato said last Friday that two Electoral Commission officers are currently with Pura, West Java, supervising the shipment.

Gamato said he was happy with the progress so far.

“It will take about three weeks for the containers to arrive in Port Moresby, which is by the end of March and two months before polling starts for the 2017 National Election,” he said.

“The containers will be guarded at a secured place where Electoral Commission officials will unpack and repack according to the enrolment figures," he said.

“These ballot papers are much more improved with new paper and new security features.

“It will be hard to duplicate or copy. "We will ensure the ballot papers are well secured and delivered to polling places under police escorts two weeks before polling begins,” Gamato said.

Meanwhile,intending candidates who seek to qualify and contest the national election must not have a criminal record, says Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato.

He said at the weekend, when announcing the qualification criteria for candidates, that persons who had been convicted and served more than nine months in jail must declare this to their returning officer who would decide on their eligibility.

Gamato said a person was qualified for nomination if:

* He or she had not been convicted of an indictable offence after June 25, 2002;

*he or she was not under sentence of death or sentence of imprisonment for a period of more than nine months and against which no appeal was pending;

*He or she had not been convicted under the law or under this regulation and where the penalty imposed included ineligibility to hold elective office; and,

*He or she had not, in the three years previous to the date fixed for polling, been convicted of an offence relating to elections prescribed by an Organic Law or Act of Parliament for the purposes of Section 50(1) (b) (right to vote and stand for public office) of the Constitution; and he or she had not, in the three years previous to the date fixed for polling, had been dismissed from office under the Leadership Code.

Other criteria are that a person must;

*Be a citizen of Papua New Guinea;
*be aged 25 years or over on the date of nomination;
*be born in the electorate or had resided in the electorate for a continuous period of two years immediately preceding the nomination or for a period of five years at any time;
*not be insolvent;
*not be of unsound mind within the meaning of the law relating to the protection of the persons and property of persons of unsound mind; and,
*Not nominated for another electorate in the election to which the nomination relates.

Gamato said candidates must provide to the returning officer or assistant returning officer Form 29 (candidate information) and Form 23 (nomination of candidates), official receipt that nomination fee had been paid, and four passport-sized photos.

“This fee is currently subject to Parliament decision, however, any prescribed nomination fee approved can be paid at a provincial treasury office, a district treasury office or a Bank South Pacific branch.

“Nominations are open from when the writ is issued for seven days.

“A returning officer can accept nominations for this entire period.

“An assistant returning officer can only accept nominations for the first five days.

“Candidates can go to the office of the returning officer, assistant returning officer or provincial returning officer for the electorate where the election is to be held.

‘Refunds will be given if: a candidate dies before the end of the polling period, or a nomination can be withdrawn by the candidate before nominations closing time by submitting Form 26 – Withdrawal by Candidate of Consent to Nomination.

“At the time of nominating, candidates should be clear on their party affiliation. Changes to party affiliation cannot occur after the close of nominations.

“The draw at close of nominations will determine the positions on the candidate poster. The candidate poster contains: the name of the electorate, the name of the election, the names of all candidates contesting the election, a photo for national elections (no photo is required for the LLG elections)
Post Courier/The National/PNG Today
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