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Many missing from electoral roll

Friday 29 May 2015 | Published in Regional


BUKA – A former Bougainville women’s MP says as many as a third of potential voters in her area could not vote in the recent election because they were not on the roll.

Two weeks of voting in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region was completed at the weekend and counting is now underway.

Therese Jaintong, who won the Central Bougainville women’s seat in 2005,has told Radio New Zealand that many were unable to register their vote.

“They have a democratic right which they were denied,” she has claimed.

“You find that those people who have gone past – they were dead – their names were on the common roll.

“But those who were alive, 18 years plus, they were not on the common roll, so that is really a little bit of a fishy thing. Why that happened like that.

“This is very important, especially when it comes to Bougainville. The people must speak democratically.

“It is the last years of the autonomy arrangements, so people were really pressing themselves to go and vote and they just send them away.

“There was quite a big number, a large number – they showed up. I would say about one third, mostly young people. These are the people that should really be voting.

“Old people are voting but young people I think they didn’t register them. So it goes back to the how they updated the common roll.

“I believe that they should have taken it to people’s houses and they should have visited the houses late in the evening when people are home instead of going there odd hours and people are out working the garden or fishing or doing something else or attending meetings and I think that’s how they left the people out.

“They should know the timing of the people and when they should be able to be at home. You know, people here Monday to Friday – we go out in the early in the morning and then come back very late in the evening.

Jaintong agreed with a suggestion from Radio New Zealand that people will accept the results despite maybe up to a third of voters not being able to vote.

“Yeah. We can’t do much. Our ways are very different. Silently people will be quiet but they will not be happy. They will not be happy with the outcome of the election if they didn’t vote.

“They would just be like debating from outside because their power is not included in the outcome of the election.

Jaintong was asked – putting the issue of problems with the common roll – how does she feel about the election generally.

“Well, I am so excited. I would like to see the outcome of the election, whichever way, because people are voting democratically, so we don’t know.

“It’s going to be a very interesting time for all of us, who is going to be the president and who is going to be the other constituency members, women and all that.

“We are all crossing our fingers and awaiting the outcome.”