Papua New Guinea
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Court clarifies status of convicted candidates

Papua New Guinea’s high court has clarified that a person who has been convicted of an offence is “permanently” disqualified from becoming a member of Parliament.

In handing down the decision this afternoon, Acting Chief Justice Les Gavara-Nanu on behalf of a full Supreme Court bench said a person convicted of an offence after the Electoral Amendments to Section 103 of the Constitution on June 25th, 2002 is disqualified to run for office.

“A nomination by such a person must be rejected by the Electoral Commission,” said the Acting Chief Justice.

“If their nomination is accepted, it is open to be set aside by the National Court or the Supreme Court as being unlawful.

“If their nomination is not set aside and such person is a candidate in the election and they are elected, their election is open to be declared null and void,” added the Acting Chief Justice.

The decision handed down this afternoon sets a precedent for the country in this National General Election with a number of convicted individuals already nominated.

Solicitor General Tauvasa Tanuvasa, acting on behalf of the Attorney General Pila Niningi, said with this clarification from the Supreme Court, the Electoral Commission can now make sure the orders are complied with.

“The country is now given the benefit of knowing who is eligible and who is not qualified to contest this election or any election into the future,” the Solicitor General said.