Constitutional questions are now being raised on the deferral of the Local Government Elections for more than three months.
The Ombudsman Commission has filed a Special (Constitutional) Reference to find out whether Section 34 of the Organic on the Provincial and Local Level Government (OLPLLG) allow for a deferral of the Local Level Government (LLG) Elections to more than three months after the date for the return of the writs for the National General Elections. And, whether an aggrieved person can utilise Section 23 of the Constitution, to compel the Electoral Commissioner to immediately conduct LLG Elections beyond three months is unconstitutional .
Another question being raised on the deferral of the LLG Elections is that of the reason for the deferral of the LLG Election.
This reason alone raises serious questions in terms of compliance with the relevant laws and the Constitution.
According to the Ombudsman Commission, there does not appear to be any provisions in the Constitution, Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections that provides for lack of funding by the national government to the Electoral Commission, to be a reason for deferral beyond the period stipulated in Section 34 of the OLPLLG.
Section 34 of the OLPGLLG only allows for the deferral to ensure the effective conduct of respective elections.
The Ombudsman Commission is an independent constitutional institution that promotes transparency, accountability and good governance.
The Commission realises the importance of elections at all levels of government as the central pillar democracy in Papua New Guinea.