Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark GartenSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the decision by Papua New Guinea to carry out elections within the timeframe stipulated by the constitution, following recent uncertainties in relation to the country?s next parliamentary elections, and stressed that they should be carried out in a transparent and peaceful manner.

?The Secretary-General welcomes the decision of the Government and the Election Commission to conduct the elections within the timeframe stipulated in the constitution,? Mr. Ban?s spokesperson said in a statement issued on Wednesday night.

Last month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, had voiced concern about steps taken by the country?s Government which seriously affected the ability of the judiciary to operate independently, and had warned that these undermined the rule of law and could lead to serious instability in the country.

There had also been reports that several journalists had been attacked, allegedly for their role in reporting on the current political situation in the country.

?The Secretary-General encourages all relevant parties in Papua New Guinea to uphold the democratic process and ensure that the elections are held in a transparent, credible and peaceful manner,? the statement said. ?He hopes that the rule of law is strengthened and freedom of the press and the independence of the judiciary are upheld. The United Nations stands ready to assist in this regard.?

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