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Early results from PNG elections show PM's party ahead
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08:19, July 16, 2007

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Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister Michael Somare's National Alliance Party is picking up more seats in the parliament than other parties in the national elections, according to early results.

Voting for PNG's national elections came to an end Saturday, with about 4 million people casting their ballots.

More than 2,700 candidates are contesting 109 parliamentary seats and the party winning most seats will be asked by the governor-general to form a coalition government.

First results have been declared and counting of ballots continues under heavy security, Australian Associated Press reported Sunday.

Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen on Sunday said he hoped all results would be in by July 30.

Partial results from more than 35 electorates where counting has started indicate Somare's National Alliance already appears safe in at least six seats.

They include those of his son, State Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare, Deputy Prime Minister Don Polye and Foreign Minister Paul Tiensten.

Meanwhile, Trawen said voting had still to be completed on PNG's distant atolls and navy boats had been sent there to pick up polling teams.

He said he was pleased with the conduct of the elections so far despite a few violent incidents in the Highlands area have been reported since voting began on June 30.

Source: Xinhua

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