THE EMERGING hype and calculated manoeuvrings in the run-up to the coming national elections of May-June 2017 have brought to light how limited preferential voting (LPV) can be exploited.
LPV was introduced to empower voters to choose candidates without being forced to select just one who would be the favoured candidate of tribe or clan and who must be voted for as an act of loyalty.
But unintentionally, LPV has empowered shrewd voters to find a way to aggrandise themselves during those months leading to the elections.
The 'Nere Tere' (South Simbu slang for vote selling) system, referred to in a recent article by Mathias Kin, puts venal voters in a good place. They are effectively able to sell their LPV votes. Not once or twice but thrice.
A smart voter can easily make good money given the gullibility of candidates to do anything they can to secure the chance to step into the parliamentary chamber, that which now houses the 'Big Book'.
There are some voters who can only sell their second and third preference votes. They do not have the liberty to sell first preferences as tribal responsibility binds that one to their tribe's chosen contestant.
But smarter voters, equipped with slippery tongues and efficient lies, can sell their LPV votes to more than a dozen candidates; praying on the credulity of power-hungry and less vigilant wannabees desperate to buy their way into the Haus Tambaran.
How much a voter earns, monetarily or in kind, is a function of geography. Voters in the upper highlands of Papua New Guinea, with their proverbial sharp teeth, are set to bite away at anything coming their way.
Brace yourselves, intending 2017 candidates. The LPV has empowered voters to become selfishly corrupt. It will be an intending candidate's nightmare but a voter's golden harvest time.
Selling those preference votes multiple times to multiple candidates can yield a rich crop.