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Powi Calls for PNGEC to Intervene in Southern Highlands Counting Process

THE Papua New Guinea  Electoral Commissioner, Simon Sinai as custodian has been called to extract the ballot boxes kept in five containers at the Mendi police station and move them to a neutral counting venue to allow peaceful counting. 

Incumbent Governor of Southern Highlands William Powi made the call after the counting of the regional seats have been disrupted and halted for three consecutive times, delaying the whole

counting process. 

In a media statement Mr Powi made the call to protect the province from violence and destruction as he sees a possible outbreak of violence in Mendi as the regional candidates continue to disrupt

the counting. 

He said security forces withdrew yesterday due to frustrations over continuous stoppage and delays in counting. 

He called on the Electoral Commission to intervene and save  all the health services, the education, business and lives of the people by retrieving the five containers kept at the Mendi police station and bring it to a closest neutral ground like Jiwaka or Mt Hagen. 

He claims the regional candidates continue to sabotage the counting and so far the counting has been suspended for third times. 

He says counting has been very slow and more than 355 ballot boxes of primary votes have yet to be counted from a total of 655 polling places.

He said the 509 000 people of Southern highlands have spoken and now the ballot boxes and ballot papers are properties of the Electoral Commissioner. 

He says the security forces can’t do anything, they can only assist the Electoral Commission and therefore, he called on the Electoral Commissioner to intervene and retrieve the boxes and move the counting of the regional boxes to a neutral ground hopefully in Hagen or Jiwaka. 

The provincial election Manager Jimmy Alywin and his officers are trying their best to count but the candidates are suspending the counting with an aim to suppress the whole regional count. 

He says there is a threat with the build-up of arms as stated by the ACP John Kale and therefore the good people of SHP do not want the schools, health services, business and the lives of the people to be affected. 

“We can’t repeat the 2017 election related violence in the province. We have three more days before the Return of Writs and we are asking the Electoral Commissioner to intervene as we do not want to miss out on the formation of Government. We don’t want to miss out on electing the Speaker and the Prime Minister,” he said. 

Mr Powi said there has been no progress over the past two weeks, and it’s a time bomb and the people are waiting and it’s now the responsibility of the Electoral Commission to save the province from violence and destruction.

“This is a judgment call,” Mr Powi said.

Next : PNG Election : Wenge Leads Morobe Regional Seat Race

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