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Papua New Guinea Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has predicted that the number of candidates contesting the general election will increase because the nomination fee has not been increased.
He said more than 4000 candidates had filled out Form 29 expressing their interest to contest the 111 seats.
“And since it is still K1000 (US$314), there will be many more candidates to be nominated,” the commissioner said.
The Government had shelved a proposal to increase the nomination fee to K10,000 (US$3,144).
Gamato said the nomination fee would remain at K1000 “because Parliament did not pass the law to increase it to K10,000”.
“Candidates will have to pay (the K1000) into the Electoral Commission Trust Account and produce the deposit slip as evidence to their respective Returning Officers,” he said.
“They also have to complete the nomination form.
“The Form 29 they have filled out is for the candidate biodata.
“That is to let us know how many candidates are contesting and also to project how many candidates will be contesting in an electorate.
“This is necessary so that we can prepare the candidate posters.
“And we have done that.
“But if some of them filled in Form 29 and do not pay the nomination fee, they will be rejected.”
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission is projecting 5.5 million people to enroll in the electoral roll and 4.1 million to vote in this year’s general election.
Electoral Commissioner Gamato said: “Our crude projection now is that about 5.5 million people will be enrolled in the 2017 electoral roll.
“We also project that about 4.1 million voters will vote in the 2017 national election.” He said any extra ballot papers “will be cancelled before they are dispatched to provinces”.
“We also have generic ballot papers available for special cases,” Gamato said.
“But these generic ballot papers be issued only under the authority of the electoral commissioner.”
He said ballot papers would be issued according to the number of voters in each electorate.
The total number of ballot papers for use in the general election is 10 million – five million for the Provincial seats and five for the Open seats.
“We will issue ballot papers according to the number of eligible voters on the enrolment figure,” Gamato said.
He said all provinces had completed the updating of the electoral roll.
“Preliminary rolls across the country are now being objected to and verified. After that, names will be finalised and certified for use in the 2017 national election.”.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
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