Posted By Staff Reporter
Papua New Guinea's opposition leader, Don Polye, has stepped down after the National Court set aside his 2012 election win over five disputed ballot boxes.Sam Basil replaced Mr Polye after the court ruled on a successful election petition from lawyer Alfred Manase, the runner-up in Mr Polye's Kandep electorate.
"I've already taken heed of the decision of the court," Mr Polye told Pacific Beat.
"I'm a person that believes in the strength of the rule of law in Papua New Guinea. I also believe in the strength of the institutions that govern this country.
"I have already stepped aside as the leader of the Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party … and they've elected the honourable Mark Maipakai.
"The head of the Pangu Party, the honourable Sam Basil, will be the leader of the opposition. So I've done what I've always been preaching."
The National Court on Monday said the Electoral Commission failed to count five ballot boxes during the 2012 election.
In a 53-page decision, Justice Joseph Yagi ordered that the election of Mr Polye as the member for Kandep be set aside.
Mr Polye said he respected the court system, but the decision was unfair and appeared to have a political aspect to it.
"The perception at the moment by the public is that there is something more at work, and that is also my own belief," he said.
"I do not believe it is a fair and just decision, and the decision was handed down a very long time from the election."
According to the Post Courier newspaper, Mr Manase alleged that during the 2012 national election the returning officer for Kandep unlawfully rejected five ballot boxes containing 3,248 ballot papers from five polling stations.
Justice Yagi concluded that the Electoral Commission and returning officer made fundamental errors and omissions when refusing to count the ballots.
He ordered the Electoral Commission to conduct a recount within 30 days.
SOurce: ABC News
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