Posted By Staff Reporter
The intending candidates for 2017 National Elections will pay K10,000 nomination fee inorder to contest the elections.
This is the recommendation of Cabinet which also approved a shorter election campaign period and the postponing of local level government (LLG) and ward elections for another 12 months.
The three recommendations are subject to legislative approval and changes in Parliament as the Government looks at ways to save costs in the 2017 National Election which the Budget on Tuesday allocated K400 million for.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced the Cabinet decision in Parliament yesterday.
He said that Cabinet approved a nomination fee hike from K1000 to K10,000, a four-week campaign period from the original eight weeks, and the deferral of the LLG and ward elections to 2018.
“There is no increase as yet, it will be endorsed through a legislative change in Parliament when the Chief Electoral Commissioner gives his approval,” Mr O’Neill said.
He was asked during Question Time by Central Governor Kila Haoda to confirm that the election nomination fee would increase, and if Parliament and Electoral Commission could allow for a shorter campaign period.
“Nomination fee increase from K1000 to K10,000. The last time it was increased was well over 30 years ago. And the number of candidates 20 years ago was much, much less than what we anticipated. This election it will be more than 4000 candidates in 111 electorates. This is a substantial increase in the number of candidates and the running of the election is very expensive,” he said.
Mr O’Neill said elections were important events where once every five years PNG has an opportunity to judge and select their leaders through a transparent and fair election process.
“While saying that, it is also noticeable that over the last three or four elections, every election is costing more and more because the number of candidates are increasing and the Electoral Commission is required to print every ballot paper with every photo so that every candidate is included in the ballot.
“As a result it is a very costly exercise, so it is certainly warranted that there must be some increase in the cost of running the elections, and that cost must be shared by everyone. I think it is only fair that it is not only paid by the public, but by candidates as well.
“That is why after consultation with many Members of Parliament and many leaders, it has been suggested that we increase the fee, and the fee is not for government revenue, it is to assist in funding the election itself.
“There is a proposal before the Electoral Commissioner and if he so wishes that it is acceptable, we will propose those changes through Parliament and we will then of course approve that increase in Parliament,” he said. Post Courier/pngfacts
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