As counting continues, three weeks of voting in Papua New Guinea’s election are officially over.
For 21 days, people have been exercising their democratic rights at polling stations throughout the country.
Ballot counting is already underway in many electorates across the country. The Pacific nation is choosing 118 members of National Parliament from 3,635 candidates - of which only 167 are women (4.6 per cent).
The Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) has been deployed far and wide, observing the election process across the four regions of the country.
The Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group, former President of Nauru, HE Baron Waqa said: “This is a one-of-a-kind experience, 21 days of polling in a country is a unique phenomenon and I am glad that the group witnessed it from the beginning to end – a valuable democratic exercise which has allowed citizens of Papua New Guinea to express their rights at the ballot.”
"We have embraced everything we observed and will announce a statement of our preliminary findings on 24 July,” he added.
One of the voters in the capital Port Moresby said: “I am relieved seeing the Commonwealth observers in their official vests at my polling place - their presence is reassuring, knowing that they are here for us, and have the capacity to make recommendations to our government on how to improve the way elections are held.”
As Papua New Guinea follow the limited preferential voting system, the counting takes place in two phases. In the first phase, the officials sort and count the votes from each ballot box for each constituency/electorate according to the voter’s indicated first preference.
After the counting of all ballot boxes, officials will determine whether a candidate received an absolute majority of the votes. If no candidate received an absolute majority, the counting process would proceed to the second phase, known as the distribution of preference.
At this stage, the counting officials then remove the ballot papers belonging to the candidate who received the lowest number of votes and distribute those votes to the remaining candidates based on the next preference marked on each ballot paper.
This exclusion process continues until a candidate receives an absolute majority before results are announced by 29 July according to provisions prescribed by the law.
- Temitope Kalejaiye Assistant Research and Communications Officer, Commonwealth Secretariat
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