TIPNG Concerned Over Delay In EC’s Appointment

With 23 weeks remaining before the Issue of Writs for the 2022 National General Elections on April 28, 2022, Transparency International PNG is calling on the Government to appoint an Electoral Commissioner. Moreover, ensure that this appointment is formalized in accordance with the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections Sections 5 and 7.

While Prime Minister, Jame Marape has restated his position during the Parliament sitting on Wednesday, 17th of November that the elections will proceed as planned.

The long-standing vacancy at the head of the PNG Electoral Commission (PNGEC) and the current acting arrangements may cause instability within the PNGEC workforce and as a result could disrupt planning and preparations for a successful delivery of the 2022 National Elections.

“Simon Sinai was officially appointed Acting Electoral Commissioner following former Electoral Commissioner, Patilias Gamato’s suspension in August 2020. This acting appointment has since expired in February and was extended in August 2021, with no substantive appointment yet.

“With less than six months left before the issue of writs, the current leadership vacuum within the PNGEC should be a very serious concern for all stakeholders,” said TIPNG Chair, Peter Aitsi.
He said the National General Elections represent a significant logistical undertaking, which should not be taken lightly.

Mr Aitsi said: “As we have experienced in past elections, staging a national election in PNG is a complex and challenging exercise on many fronts. So if we are to have any hope of carrying out the 2022 National Elections in a free, fair, efficient and peaceful manner, the PNGEC, as the lead agency, must be given ample time to put its house in order.

He said this includes ensuring that an impeccably credentialed, competent and qualified individual is appointed to lead the organization.

“There has to be confidence in the process to appoint the new commissioner and the credibility and integrity of that person will go a long way to restoring public trust, including the trust and confidence of intending candidates.”
TIPNG’s call to action comes after a two-month-long silence from the Electoral Commission Appointments Committee headed by the PM, following the official closing of applications for the position of Electoral Commissioner on Friday 6th August 2021.

“We (TIPNG) understand that a shortlist of applicants has been put together since the position was formally advertised in June this year. The legitimacy of this appointment must be upheld to the highest standards, as the outcome will ultimately underpin the integrity of the 2022 National Elections,” said Mr Aitsi.

Tags: PNG Electoral Commission (PNGEC)Transparency International PNG (TIPNG)National General Elections 2022

Author: Loop Author

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