|Monday, 16 July 2012Blair Price|
WHILE vote counting so far indicates that PNG Party leader Belden Namah could be the biggest scalp of this election, his camp reportedly still believes he can win his seat and even become prime minister. Meanwhile, many other figures seem likely to return.
|Image courtesy of Commonwealth Observer Group.|
Namah was still trailing behind two independents for the Vanimo-Green River seat as of late yesterday afternoon.
The results of the 40th count gave him 2170 total votes, just behind 2195 for Tradggy Nasiai Waramin and a lot further behind Willie Obow Inaru who had 3165.
But Namah’s camp, which campaigned on its “young, vibrant leaders”, is pinning its hopes on the counting ahead.
“The people of Vanimo-Green River are confident of him winning the seat,” PNG Party secretary Pat Kassman told The National.
“The last 40 boxes come from his stronghold [Bewani Wutung Onei local level government] and that’s where the confidence comes from.”
The party secretary further said Namah “will go on and form government” and become the PM.
Despite these wishes, the PNG Party was leading in eight seats by yesterday afternoon, according to the PNGEC’s party standing summary.
This compares to the People’s National Congress party, which is leading in 18 seats and has already won three, including its leader Peter O’Neill’s Southern Highlands seat.
One of the biggest changes as vote counting progresses has been an uptick of support for the Triumph Heritage Empowerment party – which was founded by former National Alliance party heavyweight Don Polye.
THE party is leading in 10 seats so far and Polye is probably not too far away from being declared the winner of his Kandep Open seat.
Independents remain as the wild card factor after the election. Collectively, they are leading in 12 seats as of yesterday afternoon.
The National Alliance party is leading in eight seats and has one declared victory with John Simon winning the Maprik Open seat.
Another notable force could be the United Resources Party which is leading in five seats. By the 27th count, its leader and long-time Petroleum Minister William Duma appears on track to comfortably retain his Hagen Open seat with 14,918 total votes compared to 3453 for the next biggest candidate of independent James Yoka.
Despite the various political crises, uncertainties and scandals over the past year, many of PNG’s veteran politicians are in pole position to retain their seats.
This includes Sir Michael Somare, Sir Puka Temu, corruption charge-facing Paul Tiensten, Allan Marat, Sam Abal, Anderson Agiru, Francis Potape, Arnold Amet, Bart Philemon, Sir Julius Chan and Patrick Pruaitch.
Young mining minister Byron Chan has been declared the winner of his Namatanai Open seat already while his deputy vice minister Boka Kondra is leading for his North Fly Open seat although there is a lot more counting ahead.
Arthur Somare is leading by the 35th count for his Angoram Open seat with a total of 6854 votes. Yet preferences are set to make a strong difference in this contest.
The next two candidates have a combined total of 8451 votes between them and the fourth to ninth ranked candidates have a combined total of 12,746 votes.
There are no voting results yet for 22 seats out of the 111 electorates.
Click here to read the rest of today's news stories.