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Goroka Open by-election approved

The Goroka Open Electorate in Eastern Highlands Province will return to the polls in two weeks.

Former MP Bire Kimisopa had challenged the 2017 election win of Henry Ame on grounds of errors and omissions committed by the Electoral Commission in a successful petition, resulting in the Court of Disputed Returns ordering a recount of the ballots in May last year.

The National Court was still not satisfied when the recount results were returned to it, and in February this year, it voided Henry Ame's win and ordered a by-election.

Mr Ame had asked the supreme court to overturn the lower court's decision in a review, however, the high court refused Mr Ame's request.

Because of this Mr Ame and all other contestants will return to the polls once again.

In a statement today, Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato says the Governor General, Sir Bob Dadae has approved dates for the by-election.

*Issue of Writ and Nominations Open - Thursday, 23 May 2019 (4:00pm)
*Close of Nominations - Thursday, 30 May 2019 (4:00pm)
*Campaign Period - Friday, 24 May – Friday, 26 July 2019
*Polling Starts - Saturday, 27 July 2019
*Polling Ends - Saturday, 10 August 2019
*Returning of Writ on or before - Friday, 30 August 2019

The court-ordered recount has already cost the electoral commission K3.5m, and Commissioner Gamato says the by-election would cost approximately K5.6m.

Until the by-election is completed and a candidate duly elected, Goroka District will remain without a representation in Parliament.

Records from the Electoral Commission showed Henry Ame polling 24,192 votes in the 2017 National Election, while Bire Kimisopa was runner-up with 22,232 votes.

NBC News / PNG Today

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