Morauta set for comeback

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress so far has more seats than any other party as early election results firm up for the 111 places in the national parliament of Papua New Guinea.

  • Staff Reporter
  • 17 July 2017
  • 07:53
  • News
Morauta set for comeback Mekere Morauta

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However, Radio New Zealand reports that a former PNG prime minister, Mekere Morauta, has gained the lead in the vote count for the Moresby Northwest electorate.
 
The sitting MP in Moresby Northwest is on track for defeat, well down the list headed by Morauta, who is slightly ahead of another independent candidate, Lohia Boe Samuel.
 
Radio New Zealand noted that former Morobe governor Luther Wenge, who like Morauta is seeking a return to parliament after a term outside, is in the lead for his province's regional seat.
 
Elsewhere in Morobe, the speaker of parliament Theo Zurenuoc from PNC has a slim lead in Finschhafen over the Pangu Party's Renbo Paita.
 
Meanwhile Mines Minister Byron Chan, a member of the People's Progress Party, has lost his seat in Namatanai to the National Alliance candidate Walter Schnaubelt.
 
In other election news:
 
• Counting in the Eastern Highlands regional seat was expected to continue through the Friday night to complete the 630 ballot boxes. This follows a petition by candidates presented to election manager Steven Gore Kaupa to speed up the counting of the regional votes so that the provincial governor is declared before the scheduled return of writs. Extra counting officials will be recruited and more space will be allocated in the counting venue to achieve this.
 
 
• Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has urged candidates, scrutineers and election workers not to further delay counting throughout the country. He made the call going into the weekend after receiving the writ for Moresby South from returning officer Michael Are. "I'm happy with the counting process that's going on," Gamato told The National. "A lot of provinces are counting, which is a good sign. I'm expecting more writs to be returned to me. Across the country, most provinces are into counting now. Gamato added that by today or tomorrow "we should be seeing more declarations".
 
• Security task force officers last week ordered two rival election candidates and their supporters to stop fighting, surrender their weapons and keep the peace in Goroka. Police said it was the quick action of the officers that prevented what could have been a bloody clash as the counting of votes progressed in the province. Police disarmed one of the candidates who had fired a shot, and ordered the two groups of men from Obura-Wonenara district to lie face down while their weapons were removed. Police are investigating the incident.

 

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