Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Computer Firm Throws Philippine Vote Reform Into Disarray

Computer Firm Throws Philippine Vote Reform Into Disarray:

[Note: Comelec disqualified all 7 other tenders for proposal conformance deficiencies. This consortium won the contract by default. bb]

MANILA (AFP)--An attempt to automate voting in next year's Philippine elections has been thrown into disarray after a contractor abruptly pulled out of the project, an official said Tuesday.

'We will have to go back to manual (voting),' said Jose Melo, chairman of the Commission on Elections, or Comelec.

He said it was too late to invite new tenders ahead of next year's May 10 election, when 50 million voters are set to choose President Gloria Arroyo's successor, as well as hundreds of candidates for legislative and local executive posts.

Melo said Comelec planned to sue a Philippine company, Total Information Management, for withdrawing from a PHP7.2 billion ($150 million) contract it had won with a foreign partner.

Without elaborating, Melo said the company had blamed 'irreconcilable differences' with its foreign partner for the decision.

The foreign partner, a Barbados-based company called Smartmatic, said it was surprised by the move, and urged the company to fulfill its obligation.

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