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Recent Notes 29: China in the Pacific

Recent Notes 28: Signs of political change


A formidable trio of academics have collaborated to write a new book, ‘Troubles and Puzzles: The 2022 General Elections in Papua New Guinea’, which was published online just on Sunday. The ANU’s Terence Wood and UPNG’s Maholopa Laveil and Michael Kabuni are names that regular PNG Attitude readers will recognise for their astute commentaries on PNG politics.

In their concluding remarks, the authors say: “True to recent form, PNG’s 2022 elections were troubled – very troubled in parts of the country. For those concerned with running reasonably free and fair elections, the outcomes of 2022 speak to an urgent need for a concerted effort to improve electoral quality in PNG.” If you care to link to their free book here, you will find out how they came to this finding.

Their conclusion continues: “Also true to form, women are, once again, severely under-represented in PNG’s parliament. For those concerned with women’s representation, the results of 2022 demonstrate once again the need for some sort of measure designed to directly increase the number of female MPs.

“In the case of both electoral quality and women’s representation, the question emerging from 2022 is not whether something needs to be done but whether there is domestic and international will to actually bring about change.

“While much in 2022 was true to form, the elections also produced surprises: the most dramatic of these came in the form of high incumbent re-election rates. Although we have discussed possible explanations, the source of high incumbent re-election rates is still not clear. Nor is it clear whether re-election rates in 2022 will prove to be an aberration or not, and what the impacts on politics might be if 2022 becomes the new normal.

“Politics in PNG has often appeared remarkably static: perennially fluid and shaped by individual ambitions and patronage. Yet in 2022 there were signs of political change. The main question at this point is where, if anywhere, this change will lead.”

Link here to read the complete free book online



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