By Mike Puia
FORMER Prime Minister, Sir Francis Billy Hilly, has withdrawn his candidacy for the Western provincial elections.
Sir Francis, who was the country’s fourth Prime Minister, was one of the five candidates who withdrew before the period for withdrawal lapsed on Wednesday.
Sir Francis, 70, has a wealth of experience in politics having served as a prime minister, leader of opposition and government minister.
There are 139 candidates contesting the province’s 26 wards. Five of them are females.
The Returning Officer, Hopeful Piosasa, confirmed he has fielded 309 people to run these elections.
Piosasa said three locations have been earmarked for counting, they are; Gizo, Munda and Seghe.
He said counting is expected to be conducted and completed on June 14 and his assistant returning officers will declare the results as soon as counting completes in these locations.
Piosasa said they have provided their programme to the police for their reference on how the election counting will go.
He said currently, they are waiting on the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening for the ballot boxes and papers.