Political parties warned

PORT MORESBY – Roadshows currently undertaken by Papua New Guinea political parties throughout the country before the elections dates are illegal.

The Registrar of Political Parties and Candidates Dr Alphonse Gelu declared this saying political parties have also failed to submit their official written campaign plans before undertaking such.

Dr Gelu appealed to all political parties to present their written campaign plans in order to avoid using practices that would only destroy the democratic conduct of elections in the country.

Further, Dr Gelu expressed his disappointment at major political parties failing to turn up for a compulsory Learning and Development workshop, and has tasked their executives turn up at his office for more information.

He singled out an example of PPP having a program in terms of conducting its awareness in the Highlands road show, which his office was not informed as required.

Gelu said that it would have been proper for the party to inform the Registry on its activities, and the dates when they would take place.

He said this applied to other political parties planning similar road shows.

The Post-Courier has been told there are about five political parties apart from PPP that have been carrying out road shows before the election dates. Gelu has warned these parties to inform the Registry on their intentions.

On the written campaign plans,Gelu said all political parties should have their plans to avoid using illegal practices in the coming 2017 general elections.

“For Papua New Guinea it is important that political parties must have their written campaign plans in place in order to avoid using practices that would only destroy the democratic conduct of elections in the country,” he said.

“It is evident in many elections in the past that as a result of not having proper campaign plans in place, candidates and political parties have resorted to using tactics that are plainly illegal to buy support or votes.

“These practices can and must be avoided if candidates and political parties rely on their campaign plans to get support from the voters.”

According to Gelu campaign plans are basically strategies that are developed by political parties for their campaigns.

The plan must be in a written form and must be followed at all times by the parties. A political party cannot go into an election without a written plan. It is also well appreciated that it is not easy to maintain a campaign plan.

There are many twists along the way but the party must be prepared for this.

Gelu said there were no short cuts if we are serious about making the elections truly democratic.

He said some of the major parties with MPs in Parliament that did not attend a compulsory meeting the registry conducted this month include: the People’s Progress Party (PPP), United Resources Party (URP) and the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM).

“URP and PDM are two political parties that have not attended any of the workshops since the first workshop in 2016, making the executives totally unaware of what were offered in the workshops,” he said.

“I call upon all Parliamentary Leaders to ensure that their executives must attend the L&D workshops instead of enjoying the benefits the executives are receiving in terms of their salaries and monthly stipends, and even the funding from the Central Fund,” he said. Mr Gelu said his office was committed to supporting the work of the PNG Electoral Commission in making the elections more democratic, and ensuring political parties abide by their written campaign plans.

This would allow the Registry to monitor the campaigns for the political parties after April 20, 2017, when the writs will be issued.

The success of the campaign plans for the political parties will also be assessed and monitored by the Registry.

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