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Papua New Guinea’s elections this year were full of violence and mayhem, and did not allow for free and fair elections. The observer groups have been scathing in their reports and are unanimous in calling on the PNG Government to undertake a complete review of its electoral processes to address the flaws in the electoral system.

This was the same advice given after the 2017 elections but the government had remained dormant on their promises to take action.

Papua New Guinea Transparency International (PNGTI) called on the government to not be complacent and quickly remedy the numerous problems experienced during the 2022 election.

“The 2022 election was flawed and an immediate action was needed to prepare for the 2-27 elections,” said PNGTI in a statement to The Pacific Advocate.

“This should be a wake-up call for PNG Electoral Commission and the government to take action.”

Papua New Guinea’s elections this year were full of violence and mayhem, and were unorganised, not allowing for free and fair elections. Picture: Royal PNG Constabulary
Papua New Guinea’s elections this year were full of violence and mayhem, and were unorganised, not allowing for free and fair elections. Picture: Royal PNG Constabulary

PNGTI said the issues of 2022 will not be resolved through quick fixes, which run the risk of further depleting limited public funding for the democratic process.

“The reform must see a structural intervention to restore public trust and demonstrate greater levels of competency,” PNGTI said.

This call is among hundreds of others including members of the public, for the government to engage with its stakeholders to overhaul electoral flaws.

The public is concerned that every election has shown what needs to be fixed and when one problem is not remedied another is created with a mountain of issues. For the public, this shows them that lessons are not learnt and this is perhaps due to the lack of prudent leadership.

Namatanai counting officials at the Stemper Hall. Picture- Royal PNG Constabulary
Namatanai counting officials at the Stemper Hall. Papua New Guinea’s elections this year were full of violence and mayhem, and were unorganised, not allowing for free and fair elections. Picture: Royal PNG Constabulary

While elections in PNG have been always been a messy affair, 2022 was the worst so far. Election violence was relatively high and there was lack of integrity during counting.

Prime Minister James Marape said his government will prioritise reforming the country’s electoral processes as part of strengthening the democracy.

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He said this is to ensure that each citizen gets one vote commencing from 2027 National General Elections and into the future. He added the reform is inevitable given the overwhelming challenges presented by the 2022 National General Elections.

“We must aspire to give an improved electoral system as a gift to the nation on the 50th Anniversary of our Independence in 2025,” Mr Marape said.

“We must find a good way of updating our Common Roll as well as building the identification system so that a strong and robust governance and oversight arrangements for the Electoral Commission are built.”

1 Comment
  1. Michael francis 1 month ago
    Reply

    PNG has more than its share of Political problems year after year, Decade after Decade, because it lacks Leadership like many Democracies across the Globe. Major Democracies Like the USA. Australia the UK to name but a few, have taken the wrong path so many times because of incompetent, inexperienced & Compromised leaders lack of an IQ & EQ!
    Blame this on the Voters! Because they never get the opportunity to pick the right Leader in the first instance, because every Democratic Political Party, nominates their own candidate/never the People./Voters!
    Democracies around the world are failing, the very people that they are supposed to WORK Diligently for! there is today only a single Democratic Nation on the right track for its people!1 That is is UKRAINE! Why? Its because the leadership had to in an Emergency due to Putin’s Invasion, enabled Leaders of Ukraine to unite as ONE! No one WINS a WAR or Builds an Economy without Bipartisanship. Democratic leaders are always at WAR with Themselves! Sorry but the truth should be Obvious to all.

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