Tuesday, June 27, 2023

2022 National General Elections Preliminary Findings

By Emmanuel Pok
1. Introduction
The National General Election is a significant national event, where it is conducted every five years. The political parties with their elected members are given the mandate by the people through the national elections to be in the parliament. During this national event, state institutions and other stakeholders also participate in the conduct of the elections to make sure that the election activities and the electoral processes are undertaken according to the law and follows democratic best practices.
The election observation is the process by which state agencies and other stakeholders or independent organizations deploy observers to witness the electoral process. The process of election observation has been an important avenue for the Registry of Political Parties to monitor and observe the performances of political parties and their candidates in terms of popularity, performance of women candidates and at the same time to gauze the views and feedbacks of the voters and supporters on what they think about political parties.
As a constitutional office mandated by the Papua New Guinea’s National Constitution through the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC), its mandate is to administer the affairs of political parties and their candidates and to protect the elections from outside and hidden influences (Part VI Subdivision H. PNG Constitution, 59). The Registry of Political Parties main function is to ensure that there is political stability and integrity within the parliamentary system of government. It also ensures that Political Parties as institutions of the State complies with the OLIPPAC in carrying out their day to day party activities.
Moreover, the Registry of Political Parties at all times promote the idea of democracy in terms of equal participation and representation in parliament. It has seen that this has been an ongoing issue where although women have contested in every election, there has still been a low parliamentary representation for women on the floor of Parliament in PNG. After the 2017 National Elections, the outcome in terms of women representation was that no single seat was won, and all three seats occupied by women were all lost. As a result, the Registry has made its position clear that the number of women to contest the elections needs to be increased and more seats to be won in Parliament.
So, the Registry in the last five years has encouraged political parties to endorse an equal number of both men and women to contest for elections. The reason behind this commitment is because the Registry is committed in promoting democracy in our country. The important principle of equality and inclusiveness is what the Registry dearly holds on to. And that is what the Registry wants to be entrenched in our country by having more women as members of political parties and political parties to endorse more women in elections and for them to be successful.
In this 2022 national election, the Registry of Political Parties randomly selected specific seats to observe based on the mandate and main focus to observe and reflect the performances of political parties with their candidates and women candidates, and most importantly the electoral process as well.
2. Electorates Observed
The Electorates observed were randomly selected and considered by the Registry as 'specific and significant Seats' as they were contested by women candidates or have national and political significance such as Political Party Leaders, former Prime Ministers and also other interested candidates (i.e. Political Party Executives who will be contesting the 2022 national election).

The following are the specific Seats observed:
Eastern Highlands Eastern Highlands Provincial Women candidate (Former Governor) Goroka Open Women Candidate Western Highlands Western Highlands Provincial Party Leader Hagen Open Party Leader Jiwaka Jiwaka Provincial Party Leader Anglimb South Waghi Open Women Candidates Enga Enga Provinical & Wabag Open Party Founder & Leader SOUTHERN REGION
Milne Bay Milne Bay Provincial Party Leader/Women candidate Alotau Open Women candidates Samarai-Murua Open Party Executive/Women candidate Gulf Kerema Open Former IPPCC Staff Central Central Provincial Women candidates Abau Open Party Leader Rigo Open Women Candidates Hiri-Koiari Open Women Candidates Kairuku Open Women Candidates National Capital District NCD Provincial Women candidates Moresby North-East Open Women candidates Moresby North-West Open Women Candidates Moresby South Open Women Candidates Oro Oro Provincial Party Leader & Women candidates Sohe Open Women candidates Popondetta Open Party Leader MOMASE REGION
East Sepik East Sepik Provincial Party Leader/Women candidates Yangoru-Saussia Open Party Leader Madang Madang Open Party Leader/Women candidates Morobe Morobe Provincial/Markham Open/Huon Gulf Open/Lae Open Women candidates NEW GUINEA ISLANDS REGION
New Ireland Kavieng Open 2 dominant parties (NA&PPP)/Women candidates West New Britain West New Britain Provincial Women candidates Talasea Open Women Candidates Nakanai Open East New Britain Kokopo Open Women Candidates
Year Total number of Candidates No. of Party Endorsed Candidates No. of Independent Candidates No. of Female Candidates No. of Male Candidates 2022 3620 1261 2359 159 3461 Total number of candidates that contested the 2022 NGE
Year of Election Party Endorsed Women Candidates Independent Women Candidates Total women Candidates Female MP’s in Parliament 2022 64 95 159 2 Party Endorsement of Women Candidates & Women Members in Parliament 3. Key Findings
Campaign and Polling Period  Campaigning was more intense at the last two weeks of the campaign period.  Campaign rallies were conducted in a central area only by major political parties (i.e. PNC and Pangu Pati)  Party branding through posters, banners and merchandising was evident mostly by well-established parties.  Political parties and candidates alike have used social media as an effective form of displaying campaign messaging and branding.  Support to political parties was lacking.  Political Party support to women candidates was still lacking. Parties tended to support women candidates in terms of nominations who were popular media personalities.  Women candidates supported other women candidates during campaigning using LPV.  Supporters and voters were not party followers but were interested only in party merchandises and campaign materials.  Voters support to women candidates especially women voters. Women still voted for male candidates.  Votes pre-determined and marked by one person (tanim box and katim vote)  Bribery, intimidation, and hijacking of ballot boxes and papers was evident (i.e. at Maninga Field in Goroka)  Voters voting on candidates’ personalities and not on party lines.  Block voting - Votes based on tribal, clans and family ties (especially in the Highlands region).  Women voters turned away because the votes been pre-determined.  Voters’ names not on the common roll although voter turn-out had increased compared to 2017 NGE.  Under age voting was evident.  108 seats won by Party endorsed candidates including 2 women party endorsed candidates  9 seats won by independent candidates  Appointment of PPC’s, Provincial Administrators, Returning Officers and etc at the eve of elections has caused inconvenience and delay in the election processes.  Polling venues started very late.
4. Recommendations  Revisit the Revised OLIPPAC and push for it to be passed in Parliament as it is an important Organic Law to strengthen the political party system and to also contribute to strengthen the electoral process.
 Revisit the Report on the Provincial Consultation on the Inquiry into the Organic Law on the National and Local-Level Government Elections and Related Laws and Systems that was submitted to the Parliament in 2019.
 Revisit the electoral process and improve on the voting system. Based on our observation, biometric voting system is the way forward in addressing many of the issues that occurred during the 2022 national elections
 Increase funding for awareness on political parties to be conducted in the rural and LLG based areas.
 LLG elections should be conducted before the National General Elections for the common roll vetting purposes.
 There should be no appointments of PPC’s, PA’s, RO’s and ARO’s and Election Managers on the eve of elections. Appointments must be done at least 3 months year prior to the National General Elections.
 More support to women candidates is required by political parties in terms of candidate selection and nomination as well as financial support.
 Stringent criteria is needed for political parties to select and nominate appropriate candidates.


Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Emmanuel Pok appointed as Acting Registrar

By Lorraine Wotomu
Mr. Pok was sworn into office on the 28th of April 2022, before Legal Counsel Mr. David Yamu at the Registry of Political Parties Office, in the presence of Chairman of IPPCC Reverend Roger Joseph and staff of the Registry of Political Parties.
Mr Pok joined the Registry in 2013 as Senior Manager Policy and Referrals and later was promoted to Director Policy and Referrals in 2019 in which he worked with the former Registrar Dr. Alphonse Gelu to provide support to the Political Parties in terms of strengthening and building capacity of political parties in Papua New Guinea with the following programs and initiatives:
 Learning and Development Plan for Party Executives from 2013-2017
 Mentoring of Political Parties form 2018-2022
 Mentoring of selected intending Female Candidates for the National Elections
 District Awareness for Political Parties during cultural Festivals
 Political Party Forums and
 Revised Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC) which is a top of the agenda for the Registry

These Programs and initiatives are key activities for the Registry that is closely related to promoting and strengthening Political Parties The Chairman of the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPCC), Reverend Roger Joseph, Board Members: Mr. Simon Sinai, Mr Kala Aufa and Mr Patrick Patinap, Staff of the Registry of Political Parties and Executives of Political Parties would like to congratulate Mr. Emmanuel Sam Pok on his appointment as Acting Registrar of Political Parties

Gilbert joins Registry as the new Human Resource Manager

By Claudio Labeli
Gilbert Hou
The Registry is excited to welcome Gilbert Hou as its new Human Resources Manager! Gilbert joins us with a wealth of experience in the field, having worked with the Department of Personnel Management for over 20 years before successfully securing the position with the Registry.Originally from Lese village in the Malalaua District of Gulf Province, Gilbert is a career public servant who is dedicated to the development and management of human resources. In his previous role as Manager HR, Payroll with the DPM, he demonstrated his expertise in this field and has earned a reputation as a skilled and dedicated HR professional.

As our new HR Manager, Gilbert is eager to expand his skills and knowledge to meet the unique challenges and opportunities that the Registry presents. We are confident that his experience and expertise will be invaluable to us as we continue to grow and evolve as an organization.The Registry is delighted to have Gilbert on board and looks forward to working closely with him to achieve our goals and objectives. Please join us in welcoming him to the team!

Diagnostic Forum on Women’s Participation in the 2022 Election

By Lorraine Wotomu
The Diagnostic Forum on Women’s Participation in the 2022 National General Election was recently held in Port Moresby. A total of thirty-one (31) women candidates and seven (7) Political Party Executives from over all the country came together to share their experiences and challenges and produce a statement to empower women The statement recommending a range of actions that should be taken by the Government and other partners to ensure elections outcomes in the 2027 national general elections are fair, inclusive and follow the law
During the opening ceremony, Acting Registrar of Political Parties, Mr. Emmanuel Pok said: “The Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPCC) and Registry of Political Parties is strongly committed to supporting the development of a political culture that is accountable to, and inclusive of the people of Papua New Guinea”.
“We do this by working with political parties, to strengthen their ability to operate more effectively as platforms through which Papua New Guineans can participate in elections and in political life, both as political party members and as candidates. “To be more effective, political parties need to ensure that they are inclusive of the diverse range of Papua New Guineans including women of PNG. We know from the data however, that this has not been the case for most political parties over the many years”, said Mr. Pok
A total of 159 female candidates contested the 2022 National Election with 64 women endorsed by 14 political parties. There have been only nine (9) women elected to the National Parliament since Independence, including the most recent election (2022) with two (2) women successfully elected
 RUFINA Peter-Central Governor and –Peoples National Congress Party (PNC)
 KESSY Sawang- Rai Coast Open MP- People’s First Party (PFP)

Twenty female candidates polled in the top five (5) candidates in counting their respective electorates. This includes the two women declared winners: The two women elected to the National Parliament make up less than 2 percent of the 11th National Parliament’s seat. “It is well-known that candidates have a better chance of being elected if they are endorsed by a political party”, said Mr. Pok Mr. Pok also added that, “IPPCC has been pushing for incentives for political parties to endorse women candidates, this is through the reviewing of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC). Currently the OLIPPC Act states that, if a party endorses a women, they can recover 10% of the Primary votes cast in the electorate in that election. In the review we- (IPPCC and Registry) proposed that amount to be doubled”,
The IPPCC and Registry have been working closely with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Women (UN Women) over the years to support and promote the political participation of women in the country through political parties, this is supported with the Mentoring of Women Candidate program, which engages with more than 50 women across the country, to train and connect them with interested political parties”, Pok said.
The Women’s Election Diagnostics were produced in 2007, 2012 and 2017.From 2017 onwards, a number of these proposed actions were delivered by the IPPCC, UNDP, UN Women and ANU; most notably, networking, mentoring and leadership capacity building , with a number of women participating who went on to nominate as female candidates in the 2022 National General Elections. As a direct result of the IPPCC mentoring programme which included political parties in their activities, there has been an increased in the number of female candidates endorsed by political parties in 2022 compared to 2017 NGE; and were able to improve their branding and targeted messages. There were improvements in the election preparation by female candidates and those endorsed by political parties did far better than women who contested as Independent candidates. The Forum is utilized to establish early collaboration for mentoring of women candidates for 2027 National General Election by Political Parties. The forum ran for three (3) days where women met together alone, to discuss their issues and identify their priorities. Then on the 2nd day the women candidates were brought together with election stakeholders to discuss specific issues women identified and plotted a way forward. On the third day, a joint discussion for mentoring between political party executives and women leaders as an early preparation for the 2027 National General Elections
The Key outcomes and findings are to inform Political Parties on ways to better support women candidates over the electoral cycle from 2022 to 2027. This Forum was part of the Women Make the Change Project funded by the governments of Australian and New Zealand and is jointly implemented by the IPPCC and Registry and UNDP.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Code of Conduct awareness in the highlands

The Registry of Political Parties in partnership with the United Development Programme (UNDP) conducted a workshop on the Code of Conduct (CoC) on the 24th of May in Mendi in the Southern Highlands Province and 26th of May in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands Province.

The objective of this CoC is to ensure that there is integrity instilled in the electoral process and foster a peaceful campaign environment and promote the orderly conduct of elections in this country. In turn the democratic process is well secured so the voters are satisfied and at peace that they have participated fully and so can accept the outcome of the election results.

The CoC document sets out the principles and sets of behavior that the political parties , their candidates, scrutineers and supporters are expected to follow in the Election Periods.In 2017, 22 political parties out of the 45 registered signed the CoC. This 2022 National General Election (NGE) 47 political parties out of the 53 Registered Political Parties have so far agreed to observe and follow the electoral laws and guidelines throughout the entire period.

The event was attended Deputy Provincial Administrator of WHP, Mr Knox Kiap, Country, PNG Country Resident Coordinator of the United Nations HE Mr. Dirk Wegner, Political Party executives, campaign coordinators, scrutineers, NGOs and other election officials. A total of 150 participants attended this significant event.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

National Forum on Women's Political Participation Hosted in Alotau 2022

By Claudio Labeli
The Registry of Political Parties held a National Forum on Women’s Political Participation in Alotau, Milne Bay Province starting on the 18th and ending on the 20th of January 2022. The national forum is a partnership of the Registry of Political Parties and UNDP conducting Women’s Mentoring workshops on how to win elections. This came about due to the non political representation of women MPs in the 10th parliament after the national elections in 2017. The Registry of Political Parties initially began conducting the provincial mentoring program and covered all provinces except Hela, Southern Highlands and
New Ireland Province. This later led to the Regional workshop covering three regions except the highlands region. This was due to the disruption by COVID19 Delta strain in mid 2021. The final forum was supposed to be held in November however had to be postponed three times before hosting it in January 2022.This national forum in Alotau will be the final one before the 2022 general election in April. In his opening remarks, the Registrar of Political Parties, Dr Alphonse Gelu stressed that there is not a lot of time remaining before the issue of writs and encouraged Women to affiliate with political parties before going into the elections. The Registrar acknowledged also the support and funding by key stakeholders such as the UNDP, UN Women and the Australian and New Zealand government for their donor funding assistance.
Dignitaries who where present at the forum included UNDP Resident Representative Dirk Wagener, Acting Provincial Administrator Sharon Mua, Alotau MP Hon Charles Abel, Australian High Commissioner HE Jon Philp, UN Women Resident Representative Themaba Kalua and UNDP Assistant Resident Representative Julie Bukikun.
Other stakeholders who where in attendance included PNG Electoral Commission,National Research Institute (NRI) and Transparency International (TI) PNG and selected political parties.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Women’s Mentoring and Awareness Program in the Western Highlands, 2020

By Emmanuel Pok Communicating with women leaders based in the Western Highlands Province was a challenge for the Registry, as there is no women’s representative in the Provincial Assembly since 2017. For unknown reasons the appointment of women’s representative to the Provincial Assembly has taken almost 3 years. Regardless of the communication barrier with the Provincial Government, the Registry used its existing local contact to give out notices and invitations to women leaders to attend the first women’s mentoring program. The Registry of Political Parties have conducted election observations for both National and Local Level Government and did some party awareness in the province, so those existing contact were used to draw women in the province to attend.
The conference room at the McRoyal Hotel was filled to capacity with women leaders and members of various women led associations. We were astonished by the attendance, and the content of information shared by the women leaders that attended. Women spoke freely about the challenges they face every day, which are common to other provinces, but they also gave testimony of the positive developments that are happening in their women’s groups and associations that needs support and further assistance.
Our program started at 9:30 am with morning tea, and continued until about 2:15pm when we had a combined afternoon tea and lunch before closing the program. Our registry at the entrance recorded a total of 179 women in attendance, but we had some women that came in late and stood outside and listened to what we were discussing. We have observed that the interest was so overwhelming, unlike other provinces that we have delivered similar program. We noticed that women from Western Highlands have organized themselves and attended the program according to their established sectors or societies, for instance the president of the provincial nurses association who has a political ambition brought with her 7 nurses to the meeting. We were surprised that nearly one third of those attended we from the Women in Business Association, subsidiary to that association were smaller groups like the women in coffee, the flower garden and city cleaning group. We had a radical group of women from Faith based association, they were very vocal in the meeting and advocated for the government to recognize the God given potential and talents women have at the national scene. There is a ‘Women in Politics’ association that still exists in the province. The president a, Ms. Maggie Numdi said the association was established during the tenure of Dame Carol Kidu when she was the Minister for Community Development. She said the association still exists despite lack of support and recognition from the Government and relevant NGOs. We were privileged to have some business women who shared their success stories that motivated other women as well.


After the opening prayer by a female pastor, Mr. Pok introduced the team and made clear the rationale of the program and its expected outcomes. He gave a detailed background of the nationwide ‘Women’s Mentoring and Awareness program as an initiative of the Registry of Political Parties that is well supported by the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nation Women’s Program (UNWomen).
Because of the time factor, Mr. Pok asked only women leaders of each association/group to introduce herself and the nature of her association’s business. He also asked women leaders who stood for past elections or want to stand for elections in the future to introduce themselves as well. He explained, that this is a public forum to get introduced to women leaders who are ready to take on political leadership, so they should feel free to come out and talk. After knowing and fully understanding the theme of the program, every women in the conference hall wanted to give their piece of thought about women in politics.
After all the introductions, Mr. Pok did a power point presentation with the topic “Awareness on Women Political Participation and Representation”. The presentation gave an overview of women’s engagement in national politics before and after the 2017 national elections in Papua New Guinea. He briefly gave some statistics on how women candidates polled in the national elections and how they can engage themselves meaningfully with political parties to gain support and contest future elections. In his presentation he highlighted some very important initiative taken by the Registry of Political Parties to legislate the participation of women in Politics after the women’s reserved seat bill failed. He made reference to the revised OLIPPAC and explained on the 20% quota and the anticipated impact this section of the law would have when it gets passed.
Mr. Pok made it clear that women and children’s voices are not represented in Parliament as there is no women MP elected after the 2017 elections. A very important pillar of democracy, “equal representation” is absent. He reiterated that women represents half of PNG’s population and them not represented in parliament is a sad situation in our democracy. He encouraged women to organize themselves and mobilize their resources in unity to support women who have leadership qualities that are willing to contest elections.

Some of the key points presented apart from those mentioned above are:
• Roles and Responsibilities of IPPCC and the OLIPPAC
• How to be a member of a political party and its importance
• Contact address of political parties
• Collecting Women leader’s profile and the expected outcome, an initiative of IPPCC and UNDP
The session also gave the opportunity for the women to ask questions to the team. Alot of issues were raised during the session. Some included; election administration, cultural barriers, financial, security, political parties including the issue of the Reserve Seats. Mr Pok briefly outlined the reasons why this bill was shelved. He also highlighted the Registry’s work in promoting women’s participation in elections especially the idea of the proposed 20% quota by political parties should the Revised Organic Law on Political Parties and Candidates Commission (OLIPPAC) be passed in this parliament term. Many women welcomed the idea. The interaction and discussion amongst women participants opened the avenue to have a continued dialogue through a committee that they proposed to form after the team leaves.
Many women acknowledged that this program empowered them to now participate meaningfully through this democratic process of electing good leaders in particular women leaders. They also took the time to acknowledge the importance of this activity and thanked the Registry and its partners for bringing this program to their level.