MSG observers focus on female representation in PNG polls

A team from Melanesian Spearhead Group, including Fijian Elections Office Manager Election Aisea Wainiqolo, is in Papua New Guinea to observe the country’s election, focusing in particular on women candidates.

Led by former Vanuatu President Kalkot Mataskelekele, the group has been tasked to focus on how to improve women’s representation in the PNG parliament.

PNG has not had a female MP after the election of an all-male parliament in 2017. This year, of the 3,625 people nominated for the 118 seats in parliament, less than five percent are women.

“The MSG mission demonstrates our leaders’ commitment to promoting true and fair elections, and strengthening democracy in MSG member states,” Mataskelekele said.

Matskelekele is joined by his protocol officer, Grame Hinge, Solomon Islands High Commissioner to PNG William Soaki, Manager Elections Solomon Francis Iro, and Kim Than Trong, Representative of FLNKS. The mission is facilitated by the MSG Secretariat under the Political Affairs and Security Programme.

The MSG Observer Group has two teams who have started observation of polling in the Central Province in various polling stations in Hiri-Koiari and Kairuku monitoring the electoral processes, including the opening of the poll, the voting process, and the closing of the poll. The MSG observer Group will also observe the counting of the ballots.

Similar to other international observer groups, the MSG observer group is in the country to observe the election processes and provide recommendations for the government’s consideration and strengthen the conduct of future elections.

This will be the second time that the MSG will be observing the Papua National General Elections. The first election observer mission in Papua New Guinea was conducted in 2017.

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