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Observer group outlines need for PNG election review

THE Electoral Commission needs to conduct a review immediately after the elections and improve the accuracy of the Common Roll, Commonwealth Observer Group chairman Sir Anand Satyanand says.
Sir Anand said in Port Moresby yesterday that the Government should provide adequate resources to enable the commission to carry out its mandate throughout the entire electoral cycle.
“We are concerned with reports of incidents of election-related violence,” he said.
“We call on the security forces to uphold the rule of law and for everyone to exercise restraint while the process is ongoing.
“Our group is of the view that despite the considerable challenges with the common roll, which was observed in all the four regions of the country, there were some positive aspects of the process and the results should reflect the wishes of the people who participated in the elections.”
The group arrived in Port Moresby on June 17 following an invitation to the Commonwealth secretary-general by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
Sir Anand said a key issue and challenge in the election was the significant number of eligible voters’ names missing from the roll.
He said the group was “very disappointed” to note that despite previous reports highlighting the issue, it had yet to be implemented.
“It is critical that adequate expertise and funding required by the Electoral Commission for creating a credible roll should be provided in a timely manner before the next election,” Sir Anand said.
“The people deserve better, and eligible voters must be allowed to exercise their democratic right and participate in the elections.”
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