Thursday, January 3, 2013

Kairuku-Hiri awaits by-election

Source:The National, Thursday 3rd of January, 2013
By ELIAS NANAU
 
TWO 2012 election petitions have been upheld so far by the court of disputed returns and the Electoral Commission is expected to conduct a by-election for one of them - the Kairuku-Hiri open seat in Central.
The commission is yet to make an announcement regarding that.
David Isoaimo, a petitioner challenging Paru Aihi successfully sought the relief for by-election after Justice David Cannings concluded that Aihi, a member of the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress (PNC) Party, committed bribery to procure votes, won and returned to parliament.
Tony Waterepu Aimo was another petitioner and he was declared as an MP for the Ambunti-Dreikikir open seat, East Sepik, by the court.
Justice John Kawi declared Aimo as member elect after he found that Ezekiel Anisi was not of legal age (under age) when he was elected and Anisi’s name was not on the electoral roll.
Anisi had filed for a judicial review to challenge Kawi’s decision and the matter was heard by Justice Derrick Hartshorn. The decision is pending.
Several election petitions have either been dismissed or withdrawn by petitioners from an initial record 105 petitions registered after the 2012 elections.
The election petition website calculated that 17 cases were dismissed and
eight withdrawn or discontinued.
The latest dismissal, just after Christmas, was the election petition by Jimmy Maladina challenging the win by second-term Alotau MP and National Planning Minister Charles Abel.
Abel is a member of the PNC Party.
Maladina had disputed that Abel had bribed voters and exerted undue influence during campaigning.
But Justice Sao Gabi found that Maladina failed to justify his grounds to convince the court.
Maladina said he would be appealing the decision in the Supreme Court.
“I have very strong grounds to successfully review this decision in the Supreme Court,” Maladina said in a statement.
Most election petitions have been slated for full trials at respective national court houses in the provincial centres near the electorates and these are expected to start when the justice department resumes work.
There had been applications to move trial locations because of security concerns but election petitions judge administrator Colin Makail was firm that it was the responsibility of petitioners and elected members to ensure supporters behaved

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