Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has this afternoon welcomed the presentation of an interim report by the Special Parliamentary Committee on 2022 General Elections, as he commended Chairman Hon. Allan Bird and his committee for taking on board such an enormous task and reporting back on its progress. 

The interim report was presented today in Parliament by the East Sepik Governor one year after the inception of the Committee, which becomes the first one to be established in the country’s 47 years to look into a set of national general elections and review them for improvement.

Governor Bird said as he presented the report: “The unacceptable conduct, disruption and outcomes of the NGE2022 brought many serious issues to the fore, such as the credibility of key institutions involved – notably the PNG Electoral Commissions role in conducting elections and in turn affecting the credibility and legitimacy of the election of Members of this Parliament; and the credibility and functionality of our system of governance. All these have resulted in the loss of confidence by the people in our election and government system.”

In responding, Prime Minister Marape said this afternoon of the report: “Let me commend the Bird Committee for working hard to present an independent assessment on the PNG Electoral Commission’s (PNGEC) delivery of the 2022 National General Elections.

“When Pangu arrived in government in 2019, we were fully aware of how weak the electoral process is, and proceeded to support it by providing substantial funding to the Electoral Commission, the Police and related agencies to prepare as best as possible going into the 2022 elections. The resulting failures, weaknesses and breakdown are very apparent, as they have been in elections of the past. 

“Following this, my government proposed an arm’s length review of the 2022 National General Elections to assist us clean up the process and give Papua New Guinea better elections in 2027 where ‘one person one vote’ is secured. This has been my pledge and remains so.

“Pangu has given democracy to PNG in 1975 and Pangu continues to work to secure a better democratic process for 2027 and beyond. 

“I am entirely grateful for the work that has gone in so far and continues to be put in, as I look forward to receiving the Final Report later this year and putting into motion the recommendations.”

Eleven recommendations, presented for immediate implementation, was summarized by Governor Bird as follows:

1. The establishment of a permanent parliamentary committee on electoral matters;

2. The strengthening of Inter-Departmental Elections Committee as an Administrative Coordination mechanism;

3. The increase in the number of commissioners at PNGEC;

4. Effective planning and implementation at PNGEC;

5. Electoral roll update;

6. Voter Identification;

7. Adequate and timely release of election funding;

8. Election Security;

9. Illegal firearms and ammunition survey;

10. Legal reform program; and

11. Priority cross-cutting matters.