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PNG PM thanks international observers

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has thanked international observers for their role in ensuring transparency in the 2017 National Election.

With counting well underway and the resumption of Parliament in a few weeks, the Prime Minister said the nation can start to reflect on the success of the democratic electoral process that will lead to the formation of the new Government.

O’Neill made the observation following comments by the Commonwealth Observer Group that noted that while there had been challenges, that the election results should reflect the wishes of the people who participated in the 2017 National Election.

“There will always be critics, there will always be people with vested interests, but in June and July 2017 our people have had their views heard,” O'Neill said.

“Democracy is a right of our people, and over the past few months we have all exercised that right as candidates have campaigned, people have listened to views from all sides, and then the voters cast their ballots.

“The process was not perfect, but you tell me a country where the process is perfect. You can look to elections in industrialised countries like the United States or Australia, to other countries around Asia, and there is no such thing as a perfect election, but we work hard to ensure the process is transparent and fair.

“Our Electoral Commission has done the best it can, with the best people it could employ, and it is delivering a free and fair electoral process.

While individuals with an agenda will try to talk the elections down, there is universal agreement that these elections have been the most peaceful elections in recent decades.

“The last three elections in particular, from 2002 to 2012, involved widespread violence and the hijacking of democracy, but those days have passed. Around the country we saw a peaceful election process, where from the islands to the highlands, people went about their business and placed their votes.

“There were a few unfortunate instances, but for the most part these were due to pre-existing grievances between individuals.”.
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