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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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86 Petitions Remain After 2012 Papua New Guinea Elections
Presiding judge calls for common sense in hearings process

By Elias Nanau

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 13, 2012) – There are 86 election petitions remaining from the original 105 registered in Papua New Guinea.

Under the election petition rules, a petitioner was allowed to file a challenge within 40 days after the official declaration by the Electoral Commission.

Justice Colin Makail said yesterday the remaining 86 petitions were still many to go and parties needed to progress the matters efficiently.

"I would strongly suggest we apply common sense," he said.

Makail said so far, 17 petitions had been fixed for trial.

Yesterday, lawyer for Kagua-Erave MP James Lagea told the court he would be moving a motion that service by petitioner Daniel Tulapi had not been affected.

It caught Makail by surprise as he noted the court had accepted that service at the Car Club, in Port Moresby, and the matter had been going through preliminary hearings.

"You should go up to the Supreme Court. This court has accepted service," Makail said. "Why will we need to go all over again?"

Makail stressed there was a court process and it must be allowed to continue unhindered.

He said frivolous and vexatious allegations should not slow down the court progressing the petitions.

Lagea had been going to court and Makail asked why there should be a dispute.

"I say a hundred times, there’s no other venue to settle election disputes."

A pre-trial conference for Lagea and Tulapi would be held on Nov 30 but the collapse of the Yalo Bridge, in the Kagua-Erave electorate, Southern Highlands, has hampered both parties from getting statements from the 30 witnesses for each party and which includes the Electoral Commission.

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