1705 Election Advisory Committee activated for 2017 election

The PNG Electoral Commission has reactivated the establishment of an Election Advisory Committee for the 2017 National Election which will report directly to the Electoral Commissioner. It was dormant and non-operational for the past two general elections in 2007 and 2012.

Functions of the Election Advisory Committee are to provide recommendations and advice on matters relating to cancellation and withdrawal of writ for an election if circumstances prevailing in an electorate are such that a proper conduct of an election is not practicable.

The establishment of an Election Advisory Committee came about following failure of six national seats in Southern Highlands Province in 2002 National General Election. 

Policy discussions started to legislate to protect the neutrality or independence of the Electoral Commissioner for future electoral events.

The law was eventually amended and certified on September 21, 2006 prior to the conduct of the 2007 electoral event.

Section 96A of the law that deals with cancellation of an election states that “the Head of State may withdraw or cancel, acting on advice of the Electoral Commissioner given in accordance with section 96A(2) of the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections on the recommendation of the Election Advisory Committee – between issue of a writ and the declaration of result where circumstances existed in an electorate are such that a proper conduct of election in the electorate is not practicable.” 

Grounds to cancel, withdraw writ or fail an election in an electorate include violence and election fraud such as hijacking of rolls, ballots, poll workers, failure of polls in designated places and times resulting in the cancellation of polls.

Upon the cancellation, withdrawal of writ in an electorate the Governor General shall act with and in accordance with advice of the Electoral Commission issue new writ for a supplementary election as soon as practicable. 

The three-member Election Advisory Committee who are appointed by the Governor General comprise of the Chief Ombudsman Commissioner (or his nominee) and two other persons – a nominee by the board of Transparency International (PNG) Incorporated and a retired judge or lawyer qualified to be appointed a judge nominated by PNGEC after consultations with the Chief Ombudsman and TIPNG. 

Functions of the Election Advisory Committee were activated from the issue of writs on April 20, 2017 and will end upon the return of writs on July 24, 2017.

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