PAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics
As foreshadowed in his last article, Paul Flanagan has undertaken additional & sought independent statistical analysis on the strength of bias towards the Peter O’Neill’s ruling People’s National Congress in Papua New Guinea’s 2017 election, in which counting is slow and still only about one-quarter complete. “Possibly there is some cause other than the electoral commissioner not performing his duties to the standards expected by the people of PNG,” Paul writes in a note. “To clear his name, he should release more information, the type of information he should have given to the electoral advisory committee before it resigned” - KJ
PAPUA New Guinea’s election has unquestionably been biased in favour of the O’Neill government.
The army of 300,000 People’s National Congress ghost voters - over 6,000 for every PNC electorate on average - is almost a statistical certainty. It is a level of gross manipulation that even surprised me.
My last article indicated some extraordinary differences in the numbers of “ghost voters” (or “excess electors”, or “inflated rolls”) when comparing PNC electorates to non-PNC electorates.
These used simple statistical tools – totals and averages – but detailed statistical regressions by an independent expert indicate a higher than 95% probability (so 19 chances in 20 – pretty high odds!) that the election has been biased in favour of the PNC.
That figure is 99% when five statistical outliers are removed (99 chances in 100). This is an extraordinary pattern of bias – one rarely found in statistical analysis in the social sciences.
When determining statistical relationships, sometimes statistical outliers are identified. Five were identified by the model.
The following graph is based on excluding the five outliers – leaving 84 electorates in consideration. It shows that the O’Neill PNC electorates had on average 6,349 ghost voters.
Non-PNC electorates had a negative number of 621 – people would turn up to vote and find their names were not on the roll.
Some of this is accidental or chaotic, but the statistical analysis indicates much of this is most likely deliberate – 99% most likely!
There will be many tricks ahead as the O’Neill government continues to play the advantages of incumbency (such as delayed counting and claims of failed elections in key areas where Morauta and Polye had strong claims).
Electoral commissioner Gamato needs to take responsibility for this biased election and resign.
The public has a right to know what actually happened to the 2017 electoral roll, the reasons for the chaotic distribution of ballots with inadequate numbers going to key anti-O’Neill areas (such as the universities), the very suspicious pattern of slow counting in potentially key alternative government strongholds, the reasons he has started to hide from the press and why he attacks commentators for simply using the same comparison he used on 9 April or figures he’s earlier distributed.
The election advisory committee should reform and advise the governor general, notwithstanding the limits on their power, which electorates should be declared failed.
Ialibu-Pangia and Tari would seem prime suspects for being declared failed with unacceptable last minute gerrymandering and statistically improbable voter turnout figures.
Fortunately, the public backlash against PNC is so powerful that despite the clear bias in this election, there still remains a historic chance for change.
May the anti-O’Neill forces be able to find enough common ground to form a new government.
My next article will deal with the ludicrous attempt by the electoral commissioner in a media release issued on Friday to defend these biased practices.