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Commonwealth Observer Group issues Final Report on 2012 National Elections in Papua New Guinea

13 September 2012
Some benchmarks for democratic elections were met, but significant challenges need to be addressed in election management, good electoral practices, and strengthening the culture of democracy

Commonwealth Secretary-General Mr Kamalesh Sharma today released the Final Report of the Commonwealth Observer Group which observed the June-July National Elections in Papua New Guinea. 

In issuing the report, the Secretary-General welcomed the contribution of the Commonwealth Observer Group and the openness of all stakeholders in Papua New Guinea to its work during the elections. 

“While I was pleased that the election process was largely peaceful, and many people were able to express their will, I also note the Group’s conclusions that significant challenges remain in some areas which need to be addressed for the future,” said the Secretary-General.

“These challenges include improving the efficient and effective management of elections to ensure maximum franchise, including in relation to voter registration and the electoral roll; ensuring appropriate and consistent electoral practices that safeguard fundamental principles such as the secrecy of the ballot; and promoting a strong culture of democracy and accountability on the part of all stakeholders,” he added.

The Group has offered a number of recommendations for further strengthening the electoral process in Papua New Guinea.  These include measures to improve the electoral roll and election management, further development of voter education, stronger enforcement of electoral laws, and continued efforts toward achieving a more level playing field for women’s political participation.

“The Commonwealth stands ready to assist Papua New Guinea in implementing these recommendations, in collaboration with the new Government, the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission and others as appropriate,” said the Secretary-General.

Note to Editors: The Report was completed and signed by all members of the Commonwealth Observer Group prior to their departure from Papua New Guinea. It was presented to the Commonwealth Secretary-General by the Chair of the Group, Hon Edward Natapei, former Prime Minister of Vanuatu. It has subsequently been distributed to the Government of Papua New Guinea, political parties, the Electoral Commission, and all other Commonwealth governments.