PORT MORESBY – Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) says the deferral of local level government elections to April 2019 is a breach of the Papua New Guinea constitution.
“Deferral of the elections is a complete denial of statutory and constitutional responsibilities and not consistent with the leadership the people of PNG deserve,” a statement said.
“Any dilution of this right, even if for pragmatic reasons, is unacceptable.
“The spirit of the constitution is that national and local elections should have concurrent terms.
“The government clearly knows when these elections are due and should prepare adequately for them.”
TIPNG said it is seriously concerned that the move sets a precedent in preventing the people’s democratic right to periodically elect their local governments.
“If the deferral was sought by parliament, we request bodies such as the Ombudsman Commission and Constitutional Law Reform Commissionto protect our constitutional rights by seeking a supreme court reference,” said TIPNG chairman Lawrence Stephens.
The organisation called for the government to clarify the status of incumbent councillors and presidents and to advise how development grants will be disbursed given the deferral of the election.