Thursday, February 6, 2020

Registry staff granted an Australia Award Scholarship

By Dr Alphonse Gelu
The Registrar is pleased to announce that one of his staff has been accepted under the prestigious Australia Awards Scholarship for intake 2020. Miss Madeline Saga will undertake a Master’s in Public Policy at the Australian National University in Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory. This is the first for the Registry and the Registrar is overwhelmed with satisfaction that this has come about as a result of his emphasis in training for staff at the Registry.
Miss Madeline Saga is the Senior Policy and Research Officer under the Policy Division. Madeline was charged by the Registrar to oversee the performance of female candidates during the 2017 national elections and the local level Government elections of 2019 including the Motu Koita LLG elections of 2018. Madeline had also committed her time and efforts towards women in leadership programs by working in partnership with stakeholders such as the UNDP, Department of Pacific Affairs, and Pacific Women, Australia Labor International and women candidates and politicians both foreign and national.
Through this exposure of creating avenues for women to get elected into parliament Madeline became passionate about the need to support this cause that would enable and encourage the younger generation to support female leaders. This study award is a timely opportunity that will allow her to create an effective approach for Papua New Guineans to elect candidates based on their leadership qualities and their integrity amongst their contribution to their local constituents regardless of male or female. She values her time spent working and sharing ideas with the Dr Nicole Hailey and Dame Carol Kidu under the PNG Women in Leadership Support Program, Dr Lesley Clark and Mr. Elias Hallaj from the Australia Labor Party and Ms. Julie Bukikun of the UNDP.
Finally I would like to thank Dr Lesley Clark for your expert contribution to the Registry and your mentoring to the staff and your words of encouragement and support to Madeline.This award is a great leap forward for both Madeline and the office of the Registry in that it will encourage her colleagues to work diligently into pursuing further qualifications in order to create an effective and accountable public service. The Registry is thankful to the Australian Government’s commitment to its continued support to developing Papua New Guinean leaders through this partnership. To Miss Saga, we wish you well in your studies as an ambassador for our office and country.

Planning Day outlines activities for 2020

By William Garena
The staffs of the Registry led by the Registrar Dr Alphonse Gelu took time out to conduct their planning day on 4th December 2019 at the Bengo Conference Centre. The planning day has been a practice for the Registry since 2013, and its purpose is to identify and prepare key activities and programs for the 2020 financial year.
In the 2020 financial year, the Registry will undertake seven key activities that are closely related to promoting and strengthening political parties as identified in the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Corporate Plan 2018-2022. All individual staff work plans will align with these activities. These activities include: Revised OLIPPAC; Presentation of the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Annual Reports; District Awareness; Cultural Festivals; Mentoring of Party Executives; Mentoring of Selected Intending Female Candidates for the 2022 National Elections; Political Party Forums; and Publication of Reports
The revised OLIPPAC Bill is a top priority activity for the Registry and is anticipated that the Bill will be introduced on the floor of Parliament at the earliest Parliament Sitting in the new financial year. The District Awareness and Cultural Festivals are key activities that will support the Registry’s efforts in raising awareness on political parties in order for people to know more about political parties.
Mentoring of party executives is part of the Registry’s Mentoring Initiative which will run for the next three years. Like the Awareness program, it is a flagship program aimed at dealing with party executives on a one-on-one basis, and getting to know and understand issues affecting the operations of political parties. Mentoring of selected women is a new activity and is an extension of the Mentoring program. It is aimed at supporting women candidates who will be contesting the 2022 National Elections. The Registry will be working closely with key stakeholders and partners in rolling out this activity.
Another key activity for the Registry in 2020 will be to host two political parties forum respectively in May and October. This forums will enable the Registry to inform political parties on important updates and at the same time, continue the dialogue process with political parties in terms of the governance of the OLIPPAC.
The printing of reports is an important activity of the Registry and includes Annual Reports, 2016 Survey Report, 2019 LLG Observation Report, 2018 Motu-Koitabu Observation Report, and the 2018 Awareness Report on Bogia and Sumkar Districts of Madang province. Apart from the Annual Reports, the four remaining reports are evidence-based reports which will greatly guide the Registry in providing robust policy options to the Government at the sector level. Once published it will also be of great use to stakeholders and the public as a resource material about political parties in the country.

Peoples Party updates party constitutions and policies

By Claudio Labeli
The Registry of Political Party conference venue was used by the Peoples Party to review the party policies, constitution and structure for three days starting on the 20th – 22nd November 2019. The workshop saw a think tank of party followers from different professional backgrounds come together for this event. Included in the workshop were some Registry staff
Peoples party is a registered party under the Registry of Political Party. It was registered in 2006 and has participated in three national elections beginning with 2007, 2012 and recently in 2017. It is currently in the collation government holding the second highest position in the country through the Member for Esa’ala Hon Steven Davis as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Attorney General. The other six parliamentary members are the Party Leader and Governor for Jiwaka, Hon Dr William Tongamp, Hon Sir Peter Ipatas, Governor for Enga, Hon Wake Goi, Member for Jimi and Community Development Minister, Hon John Kaupa, Member for Moresby North East, Hon Dr Lino Tom, Member for Wabag and Hon James Donald, Member for North Fly.
The three day event concluded with a final draft produced and presented to the Party Leader. Dr Tomamap extended the invitation to the Registry and Party followers for the upcoming national convention in 2020 where it would present it to the party convention. The closing of the workshop was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister Hon Steven Davis, Community Development and the Registrar, Dr Alphonse Gelu.

Policy Officer Latest Recipient of U.S. Department of State Program

By Claudio Labeli
Mr William Garena, a young policy researcher in the Policy Division of the Registry of Political Parties was honoured to travel to the United States, after being awarded the United States Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) through the U.S. Embassy. The IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with other participants and their American counterparts. Each year nearly 5,000 International Visitors come to the U.S. under this program. The program was based on the theme: “The Will of the People – Elections in Democracies”.
The visit was from 21st October – 9th November 2019 visiting five respective U.S States. Mr Garena’s visit started in Washington DC the capital than to New Hampshire, Florida, Mississippi and ended in California. He was the only recipient in the South Pacific region and the country to have been picked. A total of 24 other international recipients in his group who came from various countries attended the IVLP.
The aim of the program is to support stabilization and peace in fragile regions with emerging democracies through elections and democratic processes. The IVLP also allowed participants to experience the development and practice of democracy in the Western tradition that included political party development and cohesion, roles of the media and civil society, and political campaigns in the age of social media.
Mr Garena gained much needed exposure in terms of exploring strategies to enhance political engagement in challenging environments such as: post conflict transition; quasi-authoritarian states; conflict zones; and underdeveloped societies. During his visit, Mr Garena met with State and Local Election Commissions, state election officials and tours of their facilities, meetings with campaign organisers, political candidates, party officials, academics, think thank experts, media professionals and representatives state governments.
Mr Garena hopes to share his experiences and what he has learnt with his colleagues and most importantly, how best he can incorporate his experiences professionally in contributing towards the Registry’s goal of strengthening and promoting political parties and democracy in the country.

PM opens forum for Political Parties & Women Leadership

By Solomon Puana
The opening address and official opening of the forum was done by the Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape. He thanked and acknowledged the distinguished guests, participants and the organizers of the forum for inviting him. In his opening address, he said that despite PNG been mentioned as one of the countries that have no women representation in Parliament, PNG women’s participation in political leadership is not bleak. He said that there is room for improvements to be made and his government is committed to clean the electoral process to ensure that there is free, fair and safer elections to provide a conducive and an equal playing field for both women and men to participate in the elections on merits. Prime Minister, Hon. Marape further stated that women must not be appointed into Parliament by using any forms of Temporary Special Measures (TSM) but must contest the elections like men. He added by saying that, despite, having no women in this term of Parliament women have always been contesting the elections, became MP’s and have performed well as MP’s since 1972.
The Prime Minister also commented that his Cabinet will look into the Revised Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC) and bring to parliament for possible approval and passage. Hon. Marape also said that his government will support the Registry of Political Parties in its work and urged the Registrar, Dr. Alphonse Gelu and his team to continue the work on promoting and strengthening political parties and their policy platforms leading up to 2022 national elections. He also made mentioned that, there will be incentive based programs for political parties to ensure that more women are engaged.

PNG Political Parties & Women in Political Leadership Forum

By Solomon Puana
The Forum on PNG Political Parties and Women in Political Leadership was held in Port Moresby, National Capital District on the 14th and 15th of November 2019 at the Kumul Conference Centre, Holiday Inn Hotel. The two day forum was provided by the Registry of Political Parties – Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPCC), with the support of New Zealand Aid Program and United Nation Development Program (UNDP). The Forum was held to support the Registry’s commitment to Promote Women’s Political Participation through Political Parties. The aim of the two day forum was firstly, to expose political party’s executives in Papua New Guinea to the experiences of their colleagues in other countries within the Pacific Region. And secondly, to maintain dialogue and linkages between women leaders who intended to contest in the national elections. The hosting of the forum would identify common issues experienced by women candidates in the past elections in order to address them with the stakeholders concerned before 2022 national elections.
The ultimate goal of the forum was for political parties’ executives and women in political leadership who contested the 2017 national elections to observe the following objectives:
• To make known their intentions to contest in the national elections 2022
• To share their election experiences with likeminded women at the political front
• To share their views about political parties in PNG
• To create sustainable ties with stakeholders and political parties through the Registry
• To make reference to issues raised and ensure that they are addressed with relevant stakeholders before the next election
The forum was privileged to have Prime Minister – Hon. James Marape; the New Zealand High Commissioner – His Excellency Mr. Philip Taula; Resident Representative United Nations Development Program (UNDP) – Mr. Dirk Wagener; and the Registrar Dr Alphonse Gelu making opening remarks to officially open the Forum.
The other resource persons that made presentations during the Forum included the Assistant Resident Representative UNDP – Ms.Julie Bukikun; Professor of Political Science and International Studies, De la Salle University, Manila – Dr. Julio Cabral Teehankee; Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), Fiji – Mr. Pita Wise; General Secretary for National Federation Party, Fiji – Ms. Seini Nabou; Fiji Elections Office Representative – Mr. Mesake Vocevoce Dawai; Chairwomen of the Standing Committee on Women’s Rights, Congress of New Caledonia – Ms. Nadine Jalabert; Former Governor of Eastern Highlands Province – Mrs. Julie Soso; Former Minister for Community Development and Religion and Member for Sohe Open – Mrs. Delilah Gore; and former Chairperson of the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPCC) – Dr. Orovu Sepoe. Ms Joyce Grant from the National Alliance Party and Ms Jennifer Rudd, former President for the Kiriwina Local Level Government also shared their experiences.Mr. Morris Tovebae General Secretary for Pangu Party gave an overview on the membership drive for the party and Ms Rufina Peter gave an excellent observation on her experiences as a candidate in the 2017 national election. She gave useful recommendations at the end in preparation for 2022.
Of the 45 registered Political Parties, only 25 political parties were invited to attend the forum, however only 14 were able to attend the forum. Also in attendance were women who contested the 2017 national elections endorsed by political parties and former women MPs participated in the forum. Participants included the Registry staff, political party executives, UNDP, New Zealand Aid, and a senior officer from PNG National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
NBC is seen as one of the key stakeholders where they disseminate and publish the outcome of the forums and create an opportunity for political party executives to promote their party policies. Also present were other media personnel namely EMTV, the National and TVWAN. During the first day of the forum, there was a short media press conference in which the Prime Minister answered three questions from the Media. Presenters during the two day forum included the Registrar Dr. Alphonse Gelu, Mrs. Julie Soso, Mrs. Delilah Gore, Dr. Orovu Sepoe, Dr Julio Teehankee, Mr. Pita Wise, Ms. Seini Nabou, Mr Mesake Dawai, Ms. Joyce Grant, Ms. Jennifer Rudd, Ms. Nadine Jalabert, Ms. Rufina Peter, Mr. Morris Tovebae and Ms. Julie Bukikun who provided well informative presentations and also experiences shared by our neighboring countries within the region that we could learn from.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

UNDP PACIFIC REGIONAL CONFERENCE

By Madeline Saga
The Registry of Political was part of a delegation that included party executives selected by the UNDP who also funded and organised the forum on political parties in Honiara, Solomon Islands from the 18th to 19th September 2019.

The theme of this forum was specifically to create inclusive political parties by identifying core groups such as women and youth who play an important role in maintaining an effective party. Key participants included electoral commissions, registries of political parties and commissions and executives of political parties from countries namely Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands and Tonga.

The attendees were Registry, Dr Alphonse Gelu, Emmanuel Pok, Madeline Saga, National Alliance Party, Joyce Grant, PANGU Party, Morris Tovebae, Eri Singin, youth rep, Peoples Progress Party Joe Las, youth rep, Allegiance Party Grand Chief Ila Geno and Peoples’s National Congress Party, David Dom Kua. The Senator of Hawaii, Senator Kalani English gave a keynote address on establishing an Inclusive Political Party from the United States experience. He emphasised the importance of sustainable development goals by implementing them within party policies that would have a snowball effect into state institutions that are lacking and that need to be addressed within a society that is intending to be inclusive. He further stated that the language voters use also known as their “mother tongue” is crucial for political parties when addressing inclusivity for all minority groups.

The two day forum included sessions on sharing examples of guidelines for inclusive political parties, the role of Political Party regulators in promoting inclusivity and making political parties inclusive of youth and other marginalised groups.

Participating political parties also gave their experiences about the challenges they faced when trying to apply inclusivity that include common issues such as:

Duplication of marginalised groups

The size of membership and leader focused

Leadership tussle

Funding issues

Electoral systems failure to play its role

Resources to fund political parties in general

Party constitution rules and regulations

Political Party Laws

Electoral Laws

Having said that, a number of case studies were presented where inclusivity was achieved by introducing changes in either their electoral laws or party laws. Nepal in particular was a classic example whereby a shift from First past the post electoral system to the parallel system also encouraged the introduction of the Electoral Candidates Quota system in all levels of society. Parallel voting describes a mixed electoral system where voters in effect participate in two separate elections for a single chamber using different systems, and where the results in one election have little or no impact on the results of the other.

This forum was a follow up from last year held in Vanuatu and the first in Fiji in the previous year as part of the on-going support of ensuring political parties within the region work in partnership to allow effective democratic principles are upheld through political parties from each country. A similar forum will take place in November in Port Moresby that will include political party executives and women intending candidates.