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OBEC announces extension of counting period in Bougainville

Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, George Manu, today announced an extension in the counting period for the 2020 Bougainville General Elections.

Speaking at a media conference today, Mr Manu said with the current counting phase, there is insufficient time to complete the scrutiny and counting process as per the initial election schedule.

“We are all working towards the timely formation of a new parliament but it is essential that scrutiny and counting are conducted as accurately as possible. This takes time,” Manu said.

Commissioner Manu further explained that this 2020 Bougainville General Elections was very different compared to previous elections held in Bougainville.

“The voter roll increased by around a third, including more than 10-fold increase in BoB enrolments from 2015. We have a preferential voting system where each voter was given a total of 4 ballots and there are 40 constituency results to account for,” he explained.

This election also saw an increase of about 30 per cent in the total number of participating candidates.

“For the reasons mentioned, there is insufficient time to return the writs by the date of the 15 September,” Manu said.

According to the initial election schedule, the return of writs is expected to happen on 15 September 2020, however with the extended counting period, the return of writs will now happen on 24 September 2020.

Commissioner Manu explained that this extension has been done under Section 146 and 147 of the Bougainville Elections Act.

“I want to ensure that counting is completed in a timely manner so it will need to continue every day until it is completed,” he said.

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