Bougainville: Vote Counting Suspended
The counting of the votes in the
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Vote counting in
Provincial returning officer Reitama Taravaru said yesterday [July 8] counting would have to be put on hold until the office was certain the polling officials and the ballot boxes safely arrived in the Atolls.
Mr. Taravaru said all three polling teams had not traveled to the Atolls to conduct the elections there because the weather was bad and the two hired vessels were in a "conflict of interest" situation as they were linked to certain candidates -- one a regional and the other an Open seat candidate. He said the other hired vessel MV Manus, was undertaking a refit so they were arranging for the Rabaul Shipping Company’s MV Kimbe Queen to transport the officials today.
The office expects the polling in the Carterets, Nukumanu, Nuguria and
"We will wait and see how polling goes in the Atolls, if I see that the polling for these areas is smooth and orderly, that there is no disturbance also from the weather than I will decide to count even if the ballot boxes are still in the Atolls but only if I know what day and time they will get here," Taravaru said.
"We have until July 16  to conduct elections in the Atolls, let’s say Monday next week [16 July 2007], and no later than that because if there is no boat by this Friday [13 July 2007] and if I wait until July 30 , which is the return of the writs date, then we are in a disaster … our elections will be null and void.
"We have exhausted all avenues and now it’s up to the headquarters to give us the okay to hire the vessel which will cost us PGK121,000 [US$42,000]."Meanwhile, polling in central, south and north