Source: The National,Tuesday April 5th, 2016
By MALUM NALU
The return of writs for next year’s general election is expected in July, Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato says.
The local level government ones are scheduled for two weeks later on August 7.
Gamato announced the dates yesterday during the start of a week-long workshop for election managers and their assistants outside Port Moresby.
He said the nomination period was over seven days, campaign period over eight weeks and polling to take 14 days.
The periods are similar to the ones announced for the 2012 general election.
A total of 89 open seats and 22 regional seats are up for grabs during the national election.
The party with the most elected members is invited by the Governor-General to form the Government after the writs are returned. The theme for the 2017 general election is “Your choice, protect our democracy.”
“This theme embraces the notion of giving the choice of voting to the people,” Gamato said.
“When people have that choice, they will be careful to vote and their votes become part and parcel of protecting the democracy of this country.”
“This again depends on who they vote for as their leader in Parliament.
“Democracy is about equality, fairness, classlessness fairness, social equality, and freedom.”
Gamato said elections were not conducted fairly and equally in some parts of the Highlands region.
“There were (cases of) violence and trouble in some parts of the Highlands, and in many instances where election violence occurred between the supporters of two or more candidates, many people were denied their rights to vote,” he said.
“We cannot allow the democracy of this country to be compromised and called into question.
“Every person above the voting age in PNG has the right to exercise his or her democratic right to vote.
“Therefore, to some extent, everyone must exercise some degree of caution in ensuring that that our democracy is highly protected and shared with those who are vulnerable.
“I am making this call to everyone in PNG including the institutions of government and political parties.”