The Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) has arrived in Papua New Guinea and begun its assessment of the electoral process, in the run-up to polling in the Papua New Guinea National Election from 2nd July.
Chaired by the former President of Nauru, His Excellency Baron Waqa, the group is composed of nine eminent people from across the Commonwealth. They include specialists in politics, elections, civil society, academia as well as the media.
In his arrival statement, Chairperson H.E. Baron Waqa said:
“We recognise the significance of these elections to the people of Papua New Guinea, the region and the global community and appreciate the challenges they present as the world continues to battle the Coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic isn’t over, and we urge all stakeholders to abide by all COVID-19 protocols in place in Papua New Guinea.”
As part of its work to support the election the Group will now meet various stakeholders, including political parties, the police, civil society groups, citizen observer and monitor groups, and the media.
From 2 July, the Group will deploy observers in small teams to selected provinces to observe electoral preparations and meet with stakeholders in their respective areas.
During the 21 days of polling, the Group will observe the opening, voting, closing, counting and results management processes. The interim statement of its preliminary findings will be issued on 24 July.
The Group will then submit its final report for consideration by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will, in turn, share it with the Papua New Guinea government and other stakeholders. The Group is scheduled to leave Papua New Guinea by 31 July 2022.
The Commonwealth Observer Group members are:
- H.E. Baron Divavesi Waqa – Chairperson, Former President of Nauru
- Dr Nicole George, University Lecturer and Researcher The University of Queensland, Australia
- Ms Makereta Komai, Editor, Pacific Islands News Association, Fiji
- Dame Winifred Laban, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika), Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
- Ms Makereta Vaaelua, Deputy Returning Officer (DRO), Electoral Commission of Samoa, Samoa
- Mr Hendrick Gappy, Former Chairman, Seychelles Electoral Commission, Seychelles
- Mr Johnson Honimae, Chief Executive Office, Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC), Solomon Islands
- Ms Emeline Siale Ilolahia, Executive Director, Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO), Tonga
- Mr Wilson Toa, Country Manager, Vanuatu Balance of Power, Vanuatu
- Temitope Kalejaiye Assistant Research and Communications Officer, Commonwealth Secretariat
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