He made it very clear that the Electoral Commission will only conduct elections for ward members when ward electorate writs are issued by Inter-Government Relations Minister Kevin Isifu on 25 April 2019.
“In short, PNGEC will only conduct elections for ward members based on and in compliance with the relevant organic laws and legal instruments currently in effect,” he said in a statement.
“Our preparations for 2019 LLG ward member elections are currently in advanced stage exactly four weeks prior to the issue of writs as of today, 25 March 2019.
“Therefore, any late changes to the type of elections to be conducted this year by recommending special consideration for certain provinces would certainly derail the whole election program.”
Gamato said three provinces, including Manus, New Ireland and East New Britain, have requested for special consideration to directly elect their LLG presidents through the Department of Provincial & Local-level Government Affairs.
He, however, warned that any late changes would involve substantial revisions to the electoral budget, operational planning, logistical procurements and ballot paper production, among others, in delivering the already twice deferred LLG elections.
Commissioner Gamato explained that two determinations by the Governor General for 11 provinces in April and December 2008 were rescinded in March 2018.
These 11 provinces included Madang, West Sepik, Northern, Milne Bay, Western, Central, Gulf, Southern Highlands, Enga, Western Highlands and Chimbu.
He added that the National Executive Council’s decision of January 2007 for six provinces was never executed by the Governor General and therefore is not legally in force.
These six provinces include East New Britain, Eastern Highlands, East Sepik, New Ireland, West New Britain and Morobe.
“Electoral Commission will certainly implement any fresh amendments made to the legal framework for the 2022 national election and the next LLG elections but no further changes can be included in 2019.”