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2017 PNG National Election worst and Most Corrupt : Report

A report released by the Australia National University has described the 2017 National Elections of Papua New Guinea as the worst and most corrupt.

The report unearthed money politics, hijacking of the democratic process as well as intimidation of voters, and that many people had lost confidence in the electoral system, with many opting not to vote.

The report compiled by Professor Nicole Haley, who has observed five elections in PNG has termed the 2017 event as different and unfair in most instances.

According to the head of the ANU team, findings were broadly consistent in many areas of the country.

Professor Haley said elections in PNG remain highly variable on multiple fronts, with a marked deterioration in election environments.

According to the report, the elections were found to be flawed in certain aspects, with the democratic process being hijacked on many occasions.

Money politics and political gifting were also widespread right across the country during the election period.

Professor Hayley adds that election-related deaths, destruction and violence resulted from fierce competition from the 3,340 candidates that took part in the election.

From the observations, it was also found that 13 districts in the country were declared with less that 30 percent of the votes being counted.

Three provincial seats were also declared in similar manner.

The ANU team that observed the 2017 General Elections compromised 258 observers, the majority of them locals, divided into 35 teams covering the four regions of the country.

Observations were conducted in 43 of the 111 electorates in the country, where 945 out of the 10-thousand polling stations were covered.

This is the third election the ANU has covered in PNG using a standard metrology used to observe and compile reports on elections.

It is also the longest observation in terms of time period, compared to similar reports compiled by the United Nations and Transparency International PNG.

The ANU election report also found flaws in the electoral rolls.

According to the report, many people believed the primary electoral roll used in the 2017 General elections were not accurate.

Prior to the elections in June, the National Government decided to have the rolls updated at the district and ward levels, saying it would be easier since the people themselves knew who was who at these levels.

Despite the good intentions, the ANU report says this created chaos in many areas.

Some districts had double and triple figures on the rolls, and in other areas many people did not have their names on and were unable to exercise the constitutional rights of voting.

According to Professor Nicole Haley, there were serious defects in the electoral rolls used in the 2017 election, resulting in widespread malpractice and fraud.

Comments from the Prime Minister and the PNG Electoral Commission are yet to be obtained.

NBC News/PNG Today

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