Commonwealth Observer Mission chairman and former New Zealand Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand arrived in Port Moresby yesterday for a pre-election visit this week.
He was accompanied by Albert Mariner, who is the head of the Caribbean and Pacific Section Political Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
“This is a pre-election visit undertaken by the chairman of the group, Sir Anand Satyanand, who will be here for a couple of days,” Mariner told The National.
“Sir Ananad is hoping to meet with key stakeholders involved in the elections.
“We’re here at the invitation of the Prime Minister (Peter O’Neill) and the Electoral Commissioner (Patilias Gamato).
“The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth has responded positively and is very appreciative that Sir Anand is available to lead the Commonwealth observers in PNG’s election.”
Mariner said there would be 12 international observers in the mission and five staff members.
“We’re hoping to have advance observers on the ground by early June, probably two or three international observers, and then the main group should be on the ground by June 19 with Sir Anand,” Mariner said.
Mariner said the mission was a long-standing commitment of the Commonwealth to support Papua New Guinea’s election and democracy.
“We’ve been working very closely with the Electoral Commission and providing support,” he said.
“We were here last year in November, with a legal expert helping Commissioner Gamato out, in the reviewing of the framework that guides the commission in its efforts to update the voters.
“This is the ongoing support to the Electoral Commission as well.”
The terms of reference for the group are:
- It is established by the Commonwealth Secretary-General at the invitation of the PNG Government;
- It is to consider various factors impinging on the credibility of the electoral process as a whole;
- It will determine in its own judgement whether the elections have been conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which the country has committed itself, with reference to national election-related legislation as well as to relevant Commonwealth, regional and other international norms and commitments;
- It is to act impartially and independently. It has no executive role: its function is not to supervise but to observe the process as a whole and to form a judgement accordingly. It is also free to propose to the authorities concerned such action on institutional, procedural and other matters as would assist the holding of such elections; and
- It is to submit a report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General who will forward to the Government of PNG, the PNG Electoral Commission and leaders of political parties, and thereafter all Commonwealth member governments.
The National Newspaper May 25, 2017