​Committee to monitor elections

​An esteemed committee is expected to advise PNG Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato on undemocratic elections in the 2017 National Elections.

“The functions of the Election Advisory Committee (EAC) are to provide recommendations and advice on matters relating to cancelation and withdrawal of writ for an election, if circumstances prevailing in an electorate are such that a proper conduct of an election is not practicable,” Gamato said.

The three-member EAC, to be appointed by the Governor-General, will comprise of the Chief Ombudsman Commissioner (or his nominee) and two other persons – a nominee by the board of Transparency International (PNG) Incorporated and a retired judge or lawyer.

The EAC was nonoperational in the 2007 and 2012 national elections.

The establishment of committee came about following failure of six national seats in Southern Highlands Province in the 2002 National General Election.

The law was eventually amended and certified on September 21, 2006, prior to the conduct of the 2007 electoral event.

Section 96A of the law that deals with cancelation of an election states that “the Head of State may withdraw or cancel, acting on advice of the Electoral Commissioner given in accordance with section 96A(2) of the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections on the recommendation of the Election Advisory Committee – between issue of a writ and the declaration of result where circumstances existed in an electorate are such that a proper conduct of election in the electorate is not practicable”.

“Grounds to cancel, withdraw writ or fail an election in an electorate include violence and election fraud such as hijacking of rolls, ballots, poll workers, failure of polls in designated places and times resulting in the cancelation of polls,” Gamato said.

“Upon the cancelation, withdrawal of writ in an electorate, the Governor-General shall act with and in accordance with advice of the Electoral Commission and issue new writ for a supplementary election as soon as practicable.”

Charles Yapumi