TIPNG CONCERNED OVER ELECTION READINESS


December 08, 2021 - 322 views

With the PNG Electoral Roll Update exercise further deferred to December 2021 and January 2022, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is now calling the PNG Electoral Commission (PNGEC) and the 22 Provincial Administrations across PNG to urgently establish active Provincial Election Steering Committees (PESCs). 

Proper arrangements need to be put in place now to avoid the risk of excluding a large segment of unregistered and first-time voters wanting to exercise their right to vote in upcoming 2022 National General Elections.  

TIPNG has carried out provincial election awareness and community outreach and when in the various provinces has learned that with only 20 weeks remaining before the scheduled issue of writs for the 2022 National Elections, a majority of provinces have yet to establish functioning PESCs.  

According to Section 3 of the PNGEC terms of reference for Provincial Elections Steering Committees, PESCs are established for the purpose of “building local capacity and coordinating resources across government to assist the PNGEC in planning and delivery of the elections in the province, including electoral roll maintenance and community awareness.” Apart from key government departments within a province, a functioning PESC must also include at least one representative from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Chamber of Commerce, and Churches within the province.  

“The role of effective PESCs within the scope of national election coordination is absolutely crucial. It is very concerning to learn that with only five short months remaining before the issue of writs, many provinces are still a long way from where they need to be in terms of coordination and preparedness. Furthermore, the ongoing delay to the electoral roll update exercise is very concerning. More effective collaboration between government and other key community stakeholders is crucial if we are to deliver a successful election, and the PESC is currently the most effective framework for facilitating this collaboration,” said TIPNG Board Chair, Peter Aitsi.  

The effectiveness of the PESC model has been clearly demonstrated in examples such as the East New Britain (ENB) PESC. Which earlier this year identified the need for additional resources, and made arrangements to provide these resources through the Provincial Administration. 

ENB has since completed updating their provincial electoral roll and are now ready for the next phase of the National General Elections in 2022. Other provinces such as Milne Bay have now proposed the use of updated ward registry data to speed up the Electoral Roll update exercise within the province.  

“While the timeframe is less than ideal, we (TIPNG) believe that there are ways that we can make a comprehensive roll update possible. PESCs need to be a lot more active in convening and assessing the opportunities available to them in their respective provinces, and acting on these opportunities for the sake of our people. The conduct of the elections is not the sole responsibility of the PNGEC. We must all play our part and take ownership of this democratic process, to ensure a better future for our people and our communities,” Mr Aitsi said. 

 

 

Source: TIPNG (08/12/2021)

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