Counting Begins in SHP – Peter O’Neill off to Big Start
Counting of primary votes has begun in Southern Highlands Province with all six electorates registering votes.
Current Prime Minister and Member for Ialibu-Pangia Peter O’Neill is off to a great start with 1,861 primary votes in the first count based on four ballot boxes.
O’Neill’s closest rival is the Independent Raphael Noipo with 392 votes, followed by fellow Independent Eke Lama with 33 votes. Sir Michael Somare and National Alliance’s candidate, Timothy Aipa, has only managed to secure 4 votes thus far.
With only 8 candidates contesting the seat – the lowest number and the only single digit number of candidates in all 111 electorates – it is expected that Peter O’Neill will comfortably win back Ialibu-Pangia.
The winning of the seat will play an important role in the dynamics of People’s National Congress by guaranteeing the party’s leader a seat in parliament, and the weight this carries when influencing successful Independents post-election.
Readers of The Garamut will know that I have not only picked Peter O’Neill as a guaranteed winner, but also a winner on first-preference votes. I expect Peter O’Neill to become the first Southern Highlander to achieve this result under LPV.
(@Tavurvur) June 29, 2012
For Mendi Open, Independent Steven Mendepo, is leading on 1,303 votes after two counts, followed by fellow Independent Maso Hapon on 601 votes. The sitting MP and PNG Party man Isaac Joseph is trailing behind on 38 votes.
In Nipa-Kutubu Open, Gibson Temo, an Independent, is leading on 1,134 votes after three counts followed by Steven Andayo, an Independent, on 1,067 votes. Sitting member and PNG Party candidate Philemon Embel is trailing on 270 votes.
Only one box has been counted in Imbonggu Open with THE Party’s Steven Temo polling 561 votes, Independent Wale Molsie 466 votes, and sitting Member and PNC candidate Francis Awesa on 45 votes.
In Kagua-Erave Open, PNG Party’s Komeali Ropa is in the lead with 1021 votes, followed by Independents Albert Noria (608) and Daniel Tulapi (573).
The Southern Highlands Regional seat is showing a close contest with PNC’s William Powi (520) just in front of PNG Party’s Anthony Temo (508), followed by Independent Sylvester Komba (350).