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Urgent review needed of Papua New Guinea election, say Commonwealth observers

10 July 2017

A Commonwealth Observer Group has called for an urgent review into Papua New Guinea’s 2017 national elections.

The Chair of the observer group, Sir Anand Satyanand, said in an Interim Statement issued today that a lessons-learned process is needed immediately after the two weeks of polling.

Polling, which opened on 24 June, continues into a third week in a few places, after closing in most areas on 8 July.

“There were frequent reports from polling stations of voters whose names did not appear on the electoral roll, although most voters were able to cast their ballots. Despite considerable challenges with the common roll, there were some positive aspects of the process," Sir Anand said.

“The results should reflect the wishes of the people who participated in the 2017 national elections," he added.

"Delivering an election that is completely satisfying to a country as complex as Papua New Guinea, is a work in progress. Government should provide adequate and timely resources to enable the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission to carry out its mandate throughout the whole electoral cycle.

“We are concerned with reports of incidents of election-related violence,” he continued, and called for restraint.

The Commonwealth Observer Group is observing part of the counting of ballots, which is now underway.

Note to Editors:

The Papua New Guinea national election runs from 24 June to 8 July. However, polling continues into a third week in a few areas due to remoteness, disputes and logistics. Papua New Guinea has few roads and the capital Port Moresby is not linked by road to the other main centres. This requires a huge logistics effort, as polling teams and security move across the country in stages. Counting of votes is now underway. About five million voters are deciding representatives for a 111-seat Parliament.

For further information and photographs to republish free-of-charge, please visit: thecommonwealth.org/PNGelection2017

Interim Observer Group statement