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Date Posted: Sat, Jul 21 2007, 03:14:46pm
More on this below.
Post Courier doesn't seem to have a good website for archieves so let Wai Pii fill that gap here.
Focus Weekend Edition Fri - Mon 20th - 23rd July , 2007
Deputy Prime Minister Don Polye and member-elect for a second term for the Kandep Open electorate in the National Parliament believes this nation is governed by democratic principles and that PNG is not a failed state. He had faith in the Electoral Commission to conduct the elections when knockers said it would fail. He is back again to take the reins and lead PNG on.
Polye sets the precedent
After it was declared Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Civil Aviation , Don Pomb Polye the winner of Kandep Open electorate in Enga Province on Monday at the completion of counting of the primary votes, more than 10,000 Kandep men and women took to the streets of Wabag town to join Mr Polye in celebrations.
But in a stunning turn of events, Kandep Returning Officer, Naipet Keai soon after Mr Polye’s declaration, was charged by police on several counts of election fraud and was locked up at the Wabag Police Station. He was later released on bail.
Mr Polye publicly went on radio after his victory to say that he was humbled by the voters and their overwhelming support and confidence in him.
He polled 72.99 per cent of the first preference votes according to the PNG Electoral Commission website. He collected 21,593 votes from the total allowable votes of 29,632 votes. Nine ballot boxes with votes were disputed and not counted.
Seventeen candidates contested the election and none of them in the race behind Mr Polye scored 10 per cent or more of the total allowable votes in the count.
Unlike in the First Past the Post where each voter makes one choice or preference, in the new Limited Preferential Voting, each person votes once but in the preference of first, second and third candidate.
The July 2007 issue of The Economics magazine, published in London and circulated worldwide portrayed a negative view on the PNG elections.
The magazine said standing for the PNG Parliament was an expensive business in a poor country of less than 6 million people with an average of 25 candidates contesting each of the 109 seats, diminishing their chances of success.
The magazine went on further, “What PNG voters need, though is more than just a few treats once every five years. Government at all levels is deeply inefficient and riddled with corruption. Though annual economic growth has picked up to around 4.3 per cent, that is barely more than the rate of population growth so income per head is stagnant.
“The country has huge potential for mining, agriculture and forestry but its government lacks the capacity to manage these sustainably. A HIV epidemic is sweeping the country but, so far, few suffers are receiving antiretroviral drugs. Schools, health clinics and roads have decayed, despite the billion of dollars that Australia, by far the largest donor, has pumped into its former colony in recent years.”
Former editor of the Post-Courier, late Luke Sela, wrote from his home in Manus, that “Parliamentary Democracy is alive and well and thriving after 30 years of independence” in PNG for the Post-Courier’s 30th Independence Anniversary Commemorative Special magazine in 2005.
Mr Sela went on and write “No one can truthfully say PNG is a ‘Banana Republic.’ We have powerfully demonstrated that our system of democracy can work. And it is working for the whole world to see.”
Mike Manning, head of PNG Transparency International who also wrote for the Post-Courier’s 30th Independence Anniversary Commemorative Special magazine said: “For too many years PNG has acted like a rich country that can provide all things to all people. Sadly it is not rich, in cash terms it is poor. But it has the potential that few other countries have, to become rich in a relatively short period of time if only it manages its resources better.
“It has a vast reservoir of happy and co-operative people who are bursting to be able to participate in its economy and its development and all it has to do is provide them with the wherewithal to be able to do so.”
Mr Polye before and after his election victory, firmly spoke on TV and radio that he believed in this nation based on democratic principles and that it was not a failed state as many people may want to think. He said he had faith in the PNG Electoral Commission that it would successfully conduct the 2007 National Election when there were speculations that the elections would fail.
The results of the LPV are indications of popularity voting and have a broader electorate appeal. Mr Polye now enjoys that appeal together with his other 108 colleagues who will be elected into the National Parliament.
Would it not be justifiable if Mr Polye and his colleagues who will be members of Parliament to reciprocate this broader electorate appeal and do as Mr Polye has pledged to his people, to provide the best leadership and basic services in terms of road infrastructure, health, education and a community empowered economic independence?
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