By STANLEY NONDOL
ELECTORAL Commissioner Patalias Gamato has called on the provincial governments to sign the agreement with the Electoral Commission to deliver the 2019 LLG elections as his office is finalising the preparations with reduced budget.
Mr Gamato said funding issue for the preparation for the LLG election was of great concern to the commission and has called on each of the provincial government to partner with PNGEC and provide adequate resources to deliver credible and safe LLG elections.
When giving up dates for the preparation for the 2019 LLG election, Mr Gamato said PNGEC has been engaged on conversation with provincial administration since last year and has concluded memorandum of understanding (MoU) but signed 9 of 20 MoUs with provinces.
“I have instructed all elections managers and assistant election managers to complete their provincial MoUs with the provinces as soon as possible to secure financial and material support to the 2019 LLG elections.
“We don’t want to delay the LLG elections anymore,” he said.
This is the second time LLG elections have been deferred, the first being from 2012 to 2013.
More than 5 million could be eligible to cast their ballots for thousands of candidates in 6369 in 20 out of 22 provinces.
“We are working on the reduced budget. There is inadequate funding for PNGEC to bear all the electoral cost without provincial, district and LLG financial and material support.
“PNGEC is relying on the K70m in counter funding provided by the national government and intended for provincial
administration to support electoral logistics, transportation, fuel temporary election workers, venue and other material resources in the LLGs and wards,” Mr Gamato said.
He said PNGEC received first tranche of K13m and still requires K17m of its allocation of K30m to prepare for and conduct logistics operations for polling and counting activities.
“We have been asked by the government to administer LLG elections in partnership with provincial administrations to pool resources, save money and promote provincial ownership of the process. It also means that PNGEC, as the electoral management body, needs to conclude agreement with 20 provincial administrations,” Mr Gamato said.
Mr Gamato said first tier regional training is underway as roll update is almost complete with only few provinces still updating their rolls.