A Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) has arrived in Papua New Guinea and begun its assessment of the three-week electoral process starting on 2 July.
Chaired by the former President of Nauru, Baron Waqa, the group is composed of nine eminent people from across the Commonwealth – including specialists in politics, elections, civil society, academia as well as the media.
“We recognise the significance of these elections to the people of Papua New Guinea, the region and the global community and appreciate the challenges they present as the world continues to battle the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Waqa in his arrival statement.
“The pandemic isn’t over, and we urge all stakeholders to abide by all COVID-19 protocols in place in Papua New Guinea.”
From 2 July, the Group will deploy observers in small teams to selected provinces to observe electoral preparations and meet with stakeholders in their respective areas.
During the 21 days of polling, the Group will observe the opening, voting, closing, counting and results management processes. The interim statement of its preliminary findings will be issued on 24 July.
The Group will then submit its final report for consideration by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will, in turn, share it with the Papua New Guinea Government and other stakeholders.
The Group is scheduled to leave Papua New Guinea by 31 July.