Elections Feed

Different kind of election? I’m not holding my breath


PORT MORESBY - As the nation gears up for national elections in April, pundits and analysts are beginning to argue about the outcome.

However, the historical trend seems to tell us that the winners and losers have already been decided.

Just think about it, when was the last time Papua New Guinea experienced a truly fair and free election?

It was probably during the formative years after independence. Maybe not even then.

Continue reading "Different kind of election? I’m not holding my breath" »

Many threats surround PNG’s coming election

| The Asia and the Pacific Society

PORT MORESBY - Policymakers in the Pacific Islands face multifaceted security issues, a fact that is not lost on the region’s leaders.

This was demonstrated in the 2018 Boe Declaration on Regional Security, which expanded the definition of security beyond geostrategic concerns to human security.

Continue reading "Many threats surround PNG’s coming election" »

The season for beer, lamb flaps & clan loyalty

Martyn Namorong
Martyn Namorong - With elections due in June, police commanders are concerned at the lack of preparation

| Linked In

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea goes to a national election in June with many people pinning their hopes on the outcome of the polls.

The election is pivotal, not just in terms of bread and butter socio-economic issues but also in dealing with a final political settlement for Bougainville, which in a 2019 referendum opted overwhelmingly for independence from PNG.

Continue reading "The season for beer, lamb flaps & clan loyalty" »

Coalition against corruption regroups

TIPNG founding director Richard Kassman OBE
TIPNG founding director Richard Kassman OBE speaks at the relaunch of the Community Coalition Against Corruption on International Anti-Corruption Day last week

| Transparency International PNG

PORT MORESBY - Ahead of next year’s national elections and amid Papua New Guinea citizens’ concerns about governance and corruption, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has relaunched the Community Coalition Against Corruption.

Initially co-founded by TIPNG and the Media Council of PNG in 2002 with the support of churches, chambers of commerce, the Ombudsman Commission and the office of the Public Solicitor, the Coalition is a collective community network committed to standing together against the evil of corruption.

Continue reading "Coalition against corruption regroups" »

Election ‘22: Voter guide to how bad will oust good

A somare
When PNG became a nation in 1975, it had high hopes of building a better society and Michael Somare seemed to be the right leader to do it



PORT MORESBY – I want to talk about the kind of people who aspire to be national leaders and what might make them good leaders or not.

Leaders shape our local level governments, districts, provinces and ultimately our entire nation.

But the poor results on the ground are evidence that many of them, perhaps most of them, have not served our people well.

Continue reading "Election ‘22: Voter guide to how bad will oust good" »

Big worries about next year’s PNG election

Wood - Scrutineers watching as ballots are counted in Lae  2017 (Terence Wood)
Scrutineers watch as ballots are counted in Lae,  2017 (Terence Wood)

| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - Papua New Guinea is set to hold elections halfway through next year.

Unlike many developing countries, PNG did not lapse into autocracy in the wake of independence. Its history of regular elections is something to be proud of.

Continue reading "Big worries about next year’s PNG election" »

What you can expect in the 2022 elections

Laveil electionMAHOLOPA LAVEIL
| Lowy Interpreter

WAIGANI - Papua New Guinea will conduct its tenth national election in 2022. A by-election last week for the Port Moresby North West electorate provides a preview of what to expect next year.

In PNG, a by-election is required when a vacancy occurs more than a year before the issue of writs for the next election.

Continue reading "What you can expect in the 2022 elections" »

Witness tampering: Gamato in custody

Patilias Gamato - threatened to sue writer Martyn Namorong for defamation during the 2017 election when Namorong satirically compared him with a tomato


PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea's electoral commissioner, Patilias Gamato, was remanded in custody at the Boroko police cells in the national capital on Thursday after an alleged breach of his bail conditions.

Gamato was arrested in October and charged with corruption in relation to an incident in Port Moresby during the 2017 general elections.

Continue reading "Witness tampering: Gamato in custody" »

Sir Mek: 'Australia turned blind eye to election fraud & malpractice. PNGns expect Australia to condemn corruption, fraud & violence'

Sir Mekere Morauta - "The 2017 election was designed to be chaotic; it was designed to be rigged; it was designed to produce a particular result”


NOOSA – Former Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, has strongly criticised “foreign governments and organisations”, singling out Australia, for their assessments of the 2017 PNG national election.

Sir Mekere accused them of “whitewashing the rigging and corruption associated with it”.

He was reacting to shocking revelations in independent election reports published by the Australian National University and Transparency International.

“The ANU report and the report of TI PNG stand out in stark contrast to the remarks made by some foreign governments and in other observer reports of the 2017 election,” he said.

“While those other observers noted irregularities, mostly with the electoral roll, they failed to expose the widespread abuse, violence, intimidation and rigging that voters experienced.”

Continue reading "Sir Mek: 'Australia turned blind eye to election fraud & malpractice. PNGns expect Australia to condemn corruption, fraud & violence'" »

The rigging of the 2017 election: (4) Money politics & corruption

Peter O'Neill votes
Peter O'Neill casts his vote at the 2017 national election that was riven by crime figures, intimidation by strongmen, money politics and outright corruption


In this final article based on the Australian National University’s report on the 2017 Papua New Guinea election, journalist Mark Davis concludes with the observer group’s finding that there has been a fundamental shift in the relationship between the PNG people and their politicians – and it’s not for the better.
You can link to the full ANU report here

CAIRNS - Money politics, the use of criminal elements and the engagement of security forces are a feature of elections in the Papua New Guinea Highlands, and have slowly spread into all other regions, most recently into the PNG Islands and Milne Bay.

The ANU report states:

“Money played a huge part in the 2017 elections, and there is no doubt that ‘money politics’, which continues to be most pervasive in the Highlands, was more significant than ever before.

“Candidates across the country (in all four regions) were observed to have spent significant amounts of money securing support and offering material incentives to voters.

Continue reading "The rigging of the 2017 election: (4) Money politics & corruption" »

The rigging of the 2017 election: (3) Violence & intimidation

Election violence in Kundiawa
Election violence seized Kundiawa in Chimbu Province. A dispute over who won the governorship continues in the courts but not in Kundiawa where it is considered a danger to public safety


Journalist Mark Davis continues his summary of the main issues arising in the lengthy Australian National University report on the 2017 Papua New Guinea national election. Mark  documents election violence including an undisclosed level of murder and looting that has extended to this day
You can link to it in full here

CAIRNS - According to the ANU report, violence by candidates and their gangs, and police and Defence Force elements (both institutions comprehensively corrupted by People’s National Congress) reached unprecedented levels during the 2017 election.

Observers and citizens reported curtailing their movements throughout the campaign, polling and post-polling periods due to the violence and insecurity which punctuated the elections from start to finish.

The ANU observation team documented and witnessed election-related violence in all but three of the 69 electorates in which it undertook detailed observations.

This included 204 deaths due to election-related violence, hundreds of injuries and the large-scale destruction of property.

Continue reading "The rigging of the 2017 election: (3) Violence & intimidation" »

The rigging of the 2017 election: (2) Misbehaviour & malfeasance

Peter O'Neill Patricia Scotland
A happy Peter O'Neill receives the Commonwealth Observer Group report from secretary-general Patricia Scotland. The report was a whitewash, no wonder Peter was smiling. But not so after reading the forensic ANU observers report


Journalist Mark Davis summarises the main issues from the Australian National University’s hard-hitting report on the 2017 Papua New Guinea national election. This is the second of Mark’s four part summary of a report that documents an election replete with threats, malfeasance and corruption. You can link here to the full report

CAIRNS - There is much for the Australian government to consider about the corrupt Papua New Guinea elections in 2002, 2007, 2012 and now 2017.

All were conducted with considerable aid support from Australia, some of it directly to the PNG Electoral Commission but most to the general strengthening of the country’s institutions.

On the evidence of those elections, and independent observations, that aid has failed - as has Australian diplomacy over many years.

But the failure of Australia’s Liberal-National coalition and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to understand the Pacific and develop and implement effective policies is nowhere more evident than in Australia’s relationship with PNG in recent years.

Continue reading "The rigging of the 2017 election: (2) Misbehaviour & malfeasance" »

Commission of inquiry is needed to protect democracy

Sir Mek
Sir Mekere Morauta - the former prime minister demands an election inquiry


PORT MORESBY – Following the release of the damning observer report by the Australian National University, I renew my call for a commission of inquiry into the 2017 national election.

The report is a comprehensive account of the election, based on observer teams led by Papua New Guinean experts who covered 69 electorates in all four regions with detailed studies of 44 electorates.

It is very clear from the report that the 2017 election was designed to be chaotic; it was designed to be rigged; it was designed to produce a particular result.

Those who must take responsibility are Peter O’Neill and Isaac Lupari, and their Chief Electoral Commissioner. They must share the blame for the organised chaos we had on an unprecedented scale.

I agree with the finding of the ANU report, based on my own experience, that this was the worst election ever in terms of official corruption and violence.

As the ANU report so amply demonstrates, the election was not free and fair, and therefore the O’Neill Government cannot claim legitimacy, and nor can Papua New Guinea lay claim to being a parliamentary democracy.

Continue reading "Commission of inquiry is needed to protect democracy" »

The rigging of the 2017 election: (1) You were very wrong Australia

Mark Davis
Mark Davis


Journalist Mark Davis has abstracted the main issues of a comprehensive report by the Australian National University’s on the 2017 Papua New Guinea national election. Beginning today, we present Mark’s summary in four parts. The ANU report documents a scandalous election replete with threats, malfeasance and corruption.
You can link to it in full here

CAIRNS - The Australian National University has delivered a devastating and incontrovertible account of the 2017 Papua New Guinea election

The report calls into question the legitimacy of the current regime of prime minister Peter O’Neill and the future of the nation’s parliamentary democracy.

The long-awaited ‘2017 Papua New Guinea Elections - Election Observation Report’ reveals the systematic corruption of the election by Mr O’Neill’s ruling People’s National Congress Party, other parties and candidates, the PNG Electoral Commission, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, the PNG Defence Force and other elements of society.

It is an extraordinarily detailed report who’s unique and invaluable data is based on direct observation by a team of 258 including 32 PNG academics and researchers as team leaders, 31 ANU-based academics and students, 192 PNG observers and three support staff.

Continue reading "The rigging of the 2017 election: (1) You were very wrong Australia" »

Denuding democracy – election 2017 did not measure up

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln - "Government of the people, by the people and for the people"


PORT MORESBY - Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech captured the essence of democracy. Democracy, he said, is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

In democratic societies, the people have the right to vote and elect their leaders. The democratic form of government was conceived as a revolt against the monarchical governments that controlled much of Europe and suppressed the people to servitude.

So democracy was established as an alternative to oligarchy.

According to British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill, real democratic process comes to play when “the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper, without intimidation.”

In a democratic society, the people choose their representatives without fear or favour. When an electoral process is transparent, an election is deemed authentic.

Continue reading "Denuding democracy – election 2017 did not measure up" »

Simbu on edge as governor vote recount triggers violence

Kundiawa election violence
Kundiawa fears a return to election chaos as recount for governor's seat triggers violence


KUNDIAWA - The Papua New Guinea electoral commission should consider a deteriorating law and order situation in Kundiawa before a recount of votes from the 2017 general election.

The long-delayed election of a new Simbu governor is occurring in a volatile climate of violence and arson as supporters of one of the candidates demand the venue for the recount be moved from Lae to a neighbouring province, preferably Goroka in the Eastern Highlands.

The national court ordered the recount completed by 7 February after a petition filed by former governor Noah Kool against the election result and the winning candidate Michael Dua.

After an affidavit was submitted by the electoral commission, the court also decided that Lae should be the recount venue.

The decision was badly received by governor elect Dua and his supporters.

Dua cited as his reasons in objecting were the distance, risks and costs to candidates and scrutineers in making their way to Lae. But the court dismissed his application for a change of venue.

Continue reading "Simbu on edge as governor vote recount triggers violence" »

2017 election was hijacked; ‘unprecedented violence & fraud’

Election violence in Kundiawa - in just 6 of 43 electorates surveyed were there no deaths or property damage

JO CHANDLER | The Guardian

MELBOURNE - Democracy in last year’s Papua New Guinea national election was “hijacked” in many places, with the vote undermined by brazen electoral fraud and unprecedented violence and insecurity, a damning analysis of the 2017 vote has found.

An analysis of the vote, led by the Australian National University, found failures in the electoral roll, the theft and destruction of ballot boxes, and “money politics” – payments by candidates for votes – on a scale that was “qualitatively different to previous elections”.

“The 2017 elections were marred by widespread fraud and malpractice, and extensive vote rigging,” Nicole Haley, associate professor at ANU and the lead author of the study, told a recent gathering of Pacific scholars in Canberra.

The findings, to be published early next year, are based on records collected by 258 election observers at 945 polling stations around the country. Many voters were denied genuine choice through block voting, coerced collective voting, violence, intimidation and pre-marked ballot papers in many locations.

Continue reading "2017 election was hijacked; ‘unprecedented violence & fraud’" »

Election 2017: ‘Fraud, violence, intimidation & corruption'

Dr Joe Ketan


NOOSA – Far from being a celebration of democracy, Papua New Guinea’s recent general election provided a toxic banquet of malfeasance, deception, connivance and deadly violence.

Now Western Highlands-born academic Dr Joe Ketan, who spent four months intensively observing the election, has delivered what the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has termed “a scathing assessment” of what transpired.

Dr Ketan, a political scientist and former head of PNG Studies and International Relations at Divine Word University, concluded the election showed PNG “descending into community dictatorship” which "compromised the principles of democracy".

PNG’s democracy had been eroded through malpractice, fraud, violence, intimidation, bribery and corruption, he said.

Continue reading "Election 2017: ‘Fraud, violence, intimidation & corruption' " »

Where are you Peter O’Neill? Mendi is burning

Mendi burns (ABC)
Mendi burns as post-election violence continues (ABC)


PORT MORESBY - Real leaders emerge when there is a breakdown in civilian control and the soft power of the courts mean less and the police are powerless.

Mendi is burning and we have heard not one word from the prime minister directed at ending the cycle of violence that has enveloped his once beautiful provincial capital

Prime minister Peter O’Neill and electoral commissioner Patiliu Gamato now responsible for over 30 election related deaths in this area and millions of kina in losses and damage to property.

It is my view that both must eventually be held accountable and charged with treason. The prime minister must be removed from office immediately before the Mendi contagion spreads to the rest of Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Where are you Peter O’Neill? Mendi is burning" »

Warlords take over Mendi; rampaging mob attacks O’Neill car

Southern Highlands Province (map - ANU)JOHNNY POIYA & JEFFREY ELAPA | Pacific Media Watch | Extracts

Read the complete story here

PORT MORESBY - A rampaging crowd has attacked Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O’Neill’s official vehicle and business interests in Mendi, Southern Highlands Province.

The Toyota LandCruiser V8 vehicle was stolen, and construction and mining logistics company Wildcat Construction base looted and torched, on Saturday afternoon.

South West Air’s airport hangar was ransacked also although its fleet of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft had earlier been moved elsewhere.

O’Neill’s LandCruiser was among 10 vehicles, including an excavator, backhoe and grader, stolen by a rampaging crowd that had ran amok through the town.

Continue reading "Warlords take over Mendi; rampaging mob attacks O’Neill car" »

Electronic voting is needed in PNG - Mathias Kin

Mathias & Ingrid
Mathias Kin with Ingrid Jackson at a viewpoint on the Kundiawa-Gembogl road

JOHNNY BLADES | Radio New Zealand International

KUNDIAWA - A man who stood in Papua New Guinea's recent election says the country needs to establish an electronic voting system.

Mathias Kin, who stood in Chimbu's regional seat, said that for decades governments have paid lip service to introducing such a system.

He said commitment to this system, and its associated national ID plan, had been lacking at the top political level.

After this year's election threw up a host of problems, including electoral roll and ballot box inconsistencies, Mr Kin said the system needs to change.

While he doubts the system would change before the next election in 2022, Mr Kin said steps must be taken.

Continue reading "Electronic voting is needed in PNG - Mathias Kin" »

Punches pulled: The report of the Commonwealth Observer Group

A happy Peter O'Neill receives the report
A happy Peter O'Neill receives the Observer Group report from Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland


You can read the complete report of the Commonwealth Observer Group here

BRISBANE - The Commonwealth Observer Group that covered Papua New Guinea’s recent general election has just released its report.

The group was in PNG from 19 June to 10 July with a small team remaining four more day to observe part of the counting, but only in Port Moresby.

Unlike Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop’s walk back from her earlier statement that the poll was “successful”, this document largely builds on the observers’ interim report.

The impression conveyed is that observers conducted their mission largely unaware of, or were unwilling to comment in detail on, egregious violations of ethical, legal and proper practice. (For a summary of such malfeasance refer to this earlier article in PNG Attitude.)

Continue reading "Punches pulled: The report of the Commonwealth Observer Group" »

What's the matter with elections in PNG?

Terence WoodTERENCE WOOD | Dev Policy Blog

CANBERRA - There are still reports to be written, official verdicts to be made, and electoral petitions to be heard. But media reporting alone is enough for the most important point to be clear….

The 2017 elections in Papua New Guinea were not good enough. There were major roll issues, there were likely cases of fraud, and electoral violence is ongoing. Voters deserve better.

The first step in making sure improvements occur is diagnosing the issues. That's what I'm going to do in this post.

I'm going to look at the structural drivers of PNG's electoral problems. I'm not here to level accusations at individuals. If people have committed crimes they should be tried.

Continue reading "What's the matter with elections in PNG?" »

Julie Bishop walks back from talk of “successful” PNG election

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O'Neill (ABC)KEITH JACKSON

“The Australian government congratulates PNG, one of our closest friends and partners, on its successful election and we looking forward to continuing to work with prime minister O’Neill and PNG’s new government” – press statement by Australia’s foreign affairs minister, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, c 5 August 2017

NOOSA – Nothing astounded close observers of Papua New Guinea’s recent shambolic general election than a public statement by Australia’s foreign affairs minister calling it “successful”.

The reaction from the commentariat to this profoundly inaccurate remark – made all the worse because it was clearly deliberate, not a throwaway line – was savage.

Even the think tanks which receive Australian government funding, and in their supplication are mostly reluctant to be harsh, seemed somewhat taken aback.

But there are actors as well as commentators, walkers as well as talkers, and this is where Queensland-based ex-kiap Paul Oates and some of his colleagues entered the arena – communicating directly with the Hon Eric Abetz, Senator for Tasmania and erstwhile senior minister in a number of Australian governments, but not (to his chagrin) in Malcolm Turnbull’s.

Continue reading "Julie Bishop walks back from talk of “successful” PNG election" »

The cost of our democracy

H&SJOHN M GLYNN OL | Transparency International PNG

PORT MORESBY - Sometimes in warfare innocent people are killed. This is called collateral damage.

When it happens everyone is very upset and sorry. Apologies are made by those who admit accountability, and hopefully compensation is paid to those who have lost their homes and family members.

Who is accountable for the collateral damage resulting from our national elections of 2017?

Who will give us an explanation and an apology for all that happened? Who will compensate those individuals, families and businesses who were so terribly hurt by the murder and mayhem that accompanied the election process?

Some 30 people have been murdered, including the police officers who were ambushed and assassinated; many mobile phone towers were destroyed, and the cost of their replacement will eventually be paid for by us, the users of mobile services; families dispersed by the fighting have fled to the cities and even now parents are trudging from school to school in Port Moresby looking for places where their children can continue their education; homes and businesses have been destroyed ... incomes lost ... bribery, lying and cheating ... hatred and envy stirred up ...

Continue reading "The cost of our democracy" »

The great electoral commission gadget white elephant

PNG-EC-gadgetJON FRAENKEL | Dev Policy Blog

WELLINGTON - The Papua New Guinea electoral commission gadget (pictured) has all the hallmarks of a misconceived donor project gone wrong, and left abandoned.

Neatly laid out on an interactive colour-coded map of Papua New Guinea, the commission’s gadget depicts each province in orange, green, grey, beige or blue to designate progress in counting ballot papers at the June-August 2017 polls.

The website was updated so slowly during the critical late July vote-counting days that it was way behind what was being reported on national TV or radio or in the daily newspapers.

Since the prime ministerial election on 2 August, it has languished in a multi-coloured state of semi-completion, full of errors and omissions.

Continue reading "The great electoral commission gadget white elephant" »

Is PNG’s inability to learn smothering our young democracy?


PORT MORESBY - I consider myself fortunate. And it is not because I come from a wealthy family or enjoy the privileges of living in a developed nation.

In fact, I live in a developing country that happens to be one of the most corrupt in the world and where there is a general sense of disregard and disrespect for the rule of law.

Police are a law unto themselves. The national procurement system is a cash cow for corrupt politicians. Taxpayers’ money is wasted on unproductive official inquires that never see the light of day.

And we have a dysfunctional public service that is a hallmark of our nation's backwardness.

In saying all that, I acknowledge that we do have hard-working and honest public servants, law enforcers and politicians. But they are like specks in the sand. So few of them make any significant contribution to our nation's future.

Continue reading "Is PNG’s inability to learn smothering our young democracy?" »

Disputes & unfinished business as election wrangles continue

Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato (Johnny Blades)JOHNNY BLADES | Radio New Zealand International

RESULTS are still pending in two seats in Papua New Guinea's election, three weeks since the overall return of writs.

The Electoral Commission has confirmed that declarations are not finalised in two Highlands electorates that experienced deadly election-related violence in the past month.

The vote count for the Southern Highlands regional seat remains suspended due to clashes between supporters of rival candidates in the provincial capital Mendi which resulted in several deaths. Electoral Commission has ruled out failing the election as a number of parties in the province are calling for it to do.

Having been moved to neighbouring Western Highlands province, the Southern Highlands regional vote count was expected to resume this week. Yet the delayed result in the Southern Highlands seat has tested the patience of voters in a volatile region.

Continue reading "Disputes & unfinished business as election wrangles continue" »

Gunshots all around as election violence resumes in Wabag

The late Sano Peter MendaiDANIEL KUMBON

WABAG, Wednesday afternoon - Election violence has resumed here and gunshots are ringing out over the small township after a ceasefire imposed last week broke down yesterday and a death was reported this morning.

Wabag is experiencing its most violent time since Enga Province severed ties with the Western Highlands to assume its own political and administrative responsibilities in 1974.

Maters were made worse by the unrelated death of a young pilot Sano Peter Mendai (pictured), who was to graduate from a flying school in New Zealand this month.

Sano Mendai had come to Port Moresby to witness the graduation of his wife, Jane Kipok, from the University of Papua New Guinea’s.

Continue reading "Gunshots all around as election violence resumes in Wabag" »

Trying to better understand corruption & violence in PNG politics

Deadly Kundiawa election violencePHILIP KAI MORRE

KUNDIAWA - National  elections give us the opportunity to vote for good leaders to represent us in parliament; leaders who can develop sound policies that respect the aspirations of the people for the growth of our nation.

But in the recent election, this freedom to elect good leaders was not practically achieved. Once again, it was accepted as normal to vote for tribally-based candidates.

The democratic process of electing the best leaders disappears beneath the strong wantok system where our mind set is not open to elect to represent us in parliament good leaders of upright moral character, honesty and integrity.

Corruption in high office is the cornerstone of everything that has gone wrong in Papua New Guinea.

How can we fight this evil when the very people who are supposed to fight corruption at the top level are corrupt themselves?

Continue reading "Trying to better understand corruption & violence in PNG politics" »

Papua New Guinea’s election: what happened, what next?

May_Prof RonRONALD MAY | Australian Institute of International Affairs

CANBERRA - Papua New Guinea has recently concluded its ninth general election. With the results in five constituencies yet to be declared, parliament met on Wednesday 2 August and the incumbent prime minister, Peter O’Neill, was re-elected to head a new coalition government.

Congratulations were received from other heads of state, and Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop praised Papua New Guinea for its ‘successful election’ and said Australia looked forward to working with Prime Minister O’Neill.

But just how successful was the election, and to what extent should O’Neill’s re-election be welcomed?

Some 3,324 candidates contested the 111 seats in the 2017 election, an average of over 30 per constituency. This included 167 women. Forty-five political parties were registered prior to the election, but, as usual, the majority of candidates stood as independents and all candidates appealed primarily to local loyalties and parochial issues.

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea’s election: what happened, what next?" »

“We fought for our uncounted boxes,’’ Polye supporters tell

Enga provincial building near the eye of the fightDANIEL KUMBON

WABAG - At last town residents, business houses and the general public are resuming normal life, or so we are assured by the authorities.

The post-election warfare officially ceased Wednesday under a heavy police and army presence. More than 30 people died in the violence, including four this week.

Provincial Police Commander Supt George Kakas said the Kii and Kala tribes had wrongly allowed former opposition leader Don Polye and civil aviation minister and member for Kandep Alfred Manasseh to exploit them to stage three weeks of killing and destruction.

Supt Kakas said the two tribes had agreed to stop fighting and accepted conditions of a preventative order which restrained them from further violence.

Continue reading "“We fought for our uncounted boxes,’’ Polye supporters tell" »

The grand scam: How Peter O’Neill managed to stay in power


PAPUA New Guineans may never fully discern the extent of foul play Peter O’Neill and the Peoples National Congress (PNC) committed to retain power in the recently concluded 2017 election.

As a candidate for Simbu Regional and a regular contributor to PNG Attitude, I want to record my personal views of what I see as a grand scam by the ruling party.

First, I am very troubled by the shocking image circulated on social media of an Enga tribesman shot by the security forces in Wabag at the height of the counting.

My concern was that the photo clearly showed the gun the man was carrying had a red PNC4PNG sticker on it.

Continue reading "The grand scam: How Peter O’Neill managed to stay in power" »

Bangladeshi man burned to death as election warfare continues

Wabag town still gripped in election violenceDANIEL KUMBON

HUNDREDS of people stood helpless as a Bangladeshi businessman died in a fire early Thursday morning in the Enga Province capital of Wabag, a town already besieged by election violence.

Wabag has no fire service and the man died in an upstairs apartment already engulfed in flames.

The foreign businessman died even as  local leaders from surrounding tribes planned to stage a peaceful demonstration to express their grievances at the lack of interest shown by the new government in stopping an election-related tribal war on the edge of the town.

Four other Bangladeshi men escaped the inferno.

Continue reading "Bangladeshi man burned to death as election warfare continues" »

Election that secured O’Neill’s second term was chaotic

O'Neill - continuity but not stabilityTHE ECONOMIST

MARAUDING supporters went on the rampage with bush knives, candidates were imprisoned and kidnapped and police stations were burned during the six-week vote and count in elections in Papua New Guinea.

On 2 August the incumbent People’s National Congress party finally declared victory and Peter O’Neill was returned as prime minister for a second five-year term. But the violence augurs ill for the country’s stability.

The chaotic campaign reflected enduring problems in the political system. Most politics in PNG is local: the population of 7.6m people speak nearly 850 languages. Fully 44 parties took part and many candidates ran as independents.

Continue reading "Election that secured O’Neill’s second term was chaotic" »

Australia’s response to PNG election: diplomatic ineptitude

Keith in full flight
Keith in full flight


“AUSTRALIA praises 'successful' PNG election as death toll mounts,” the SBS headline said.

Note the single inverted commas around the word ‘successful’; in headline writer’s terms a technique to imply sarcasm.

A statement to SBS News from Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop had said: “The Australian government congratulates PNG, one of our closest friends and partners, on its successful election and we looking forward to continuing to work with prime minister O’Neill and PNG’s new government.”

This was not only wrong (the election was demonstrably unsuccessful in its conduct), embarrassing (the current Australian government persistently confusing diplomacy with prostration and self-abasement) but it was treacherous.

The statement was disloyal and perfidious to Papua New Guineans like Dr Alphonse Gelu, the registrar of political parties and candidates, who said the election had been marred by numerous bad practices and that there were many questions about the way it transpired.

Continue reading "Australia’s response to PNG election: diplomatic ineptitude" »

Grotesque comedy as PNG elects a debt-ridden kleptocracy


THE return of the O'Neill government means that, notwithstanding the incompetence and outright fraud that reduced the electoral process to a grotesque comedy, enough Papua New Guineans were persuaded to elect what amounts to a kleptocracy.

This will ensure that PNG's remorseless slide into poverty and squalor will continue unabated. There are many precedents for this in Africa and elsewhere.

As someone who cares what happens to PNG and its people, it saddens me deeply to think that the place I knew, full of bright promise, should be reduced to this state.

In a wider context, what is happening in PNG is reflective of the slow death of representative democracy across the world.

Continue reading "Grotesque comedy as PNG elects a debt-ridden kleptocracy" »

Peter O'Neill re-elected as prime minister with comfortable majority

Peter O'Neill todayKEITH JACKSON

AS the lights went out in Papua New Guinea's parliament house during the crucial vote for Speaker a short time ago, so they went out symbolically for the many Papua New Guineans who were hoping for a change of government after a violent, chaotic and probably corrupted national election.

Manus politician Job Pomat, something of an unknown quantity but the offering of Peter O'Neill's PNC Party, defeated the Alliance's Dr Allan Marat 60 votes to 46 in a decisive result for the incumbent prime minister despite a resurgent opposition.

Soon after, in the parliamentary vote for prime minister, Peter O'Neill was elected for a second term.

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Is it constitutional to elect both the PM & Speaker today?

Sam KoimSAM KOIM | Facebook

THE combined reading of section 142 of the Constitution, the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates and Part II of the Standing Orders of the National Parliament shows that the following order of procedure has to be followed for the first two critical days of the 10th Parliament.

Wednesday 2 August 2017

  1. Members will assemble in the Chamber at the appointed time.
  2. The Clerk will read the National Gazette notification calling the Parliament together and the notification appointing the representative of the Governor-General to administer the Declaration of Office and Declaration of Loyalty. (This may be administered by the Chief Justice).
  3. Notice is given in the normal manner for the appointment of the Speaker and the Prime Minister.
  4. Parliament adjourns to the “next sitting day” which is Thursday 3rd August 2017 for the election of the Speaker followed by the Election of Prime Minister.

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Election diary: How will our children remember this violent time?


THE sound of shrieking children playing slowed my heart beat and brought a feeling of normalcy. My heart had been pumping furiously every day since election writs were issued.

It seemed that the children sensed it was safe to play after the nightmare – gunshots, deaths, destruction and chaos - of the past couple of weeks in Wabag town.

But I’m sure those children will never forget the sad events of this time which we hope will culminate with the formation of a new government on the floor of parliament, and a new prime minister, on Wednesday.

How will those children ever forget our young neighbourhood mother who lost her infant as she fled for her life from the hospital? She had been struggling to give birth in the maternity ward when assailants started destroying Wabag General Hospital in a surprise attack.

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Take PNG's side to protect and defend our union


EVENTS that have transpired leading to the formation of a new Papua New Guinean government are raising serious questions about the state of our union.

Already on social media there are calls for autonomy and even independence for some regions or provinces. Such calls are unwarranted but indicate the need for our elected leaders to assess the strength of our union.

The Bougainville crisis is a reminder that if we don't take this issue seriously, conflict between regions or ethnic groups may alter our nationhood forever.

Certainly the results of the 2017 national election demonstrate that, with one or two exceptions, our political parties are becoming more regionalised.

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O’Neill appeal wanes as Alliance moves to secure majority

Attitude readership soarsKEITH JACKSON

AS readers turned to PNG Attitude in the post-election turbulence (graph), SirMereke Morauta said a third independent politician has aligned with him to “play a leading role in the election of prime minister and formation of a new government” in Papua New Guinea.

South Fly MP-elect Sekie Agisa joins PNG’s first Airbus pilot and Rigo MP-elect, Captain Lekwa Gure, and leading businessman and Central governor-elect Robert Agarobe in aligning with the former prime minister in an Alliance grouping that looks increasingly credible.

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How this PNG election miscarried. Let me name the ways….


LET me state from the start that, when I refer to ‘electoral commission’, I include not only the commissioner himself but others.

The returning officers, assistant returning officers, counting officials and all the electoral commission’s agents who - one way or another - contributed to making sure the 2017 national elections were the worst in Papua New Guinea’s short history.

I am of the view that the current administration of the electoral commission has shown little proof that it has conducted its duties without fear or favour.

When the first seat (Tari- Pori) was declared, one could sense something was not right.

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Desperation of O'Neill & PNC cohorts reaches new heights


WITH Papua New Guinea’s new parliament sitting for the first time tomorrow, Peter O’Neill’s desperation to secure numbers has reached unprecedented heights.

There was more drama at the airport yesterday as people from the North Fly and Western provincial seats sought to reinforce their new MP and Governor elects desire not to join the PNC Alotau camp.

They protected the MPs from hijackers until the arrival of PNG Party leader Belden Namah. The people then introduced the MPs to Mr Namah with much dancing and celebration.

However, upon landing at Port Moresby airport, police believed to be sympathetic to Mr O’Neill tried to hijack the two MPs. This resulted in a commotion as Mr Namah deterred the police.

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At this critical time, PNG needs greatness to step forward


THE declaration of Sir Mekere Morauta’s success in the seat of Moresby North West brought a big sigh of relieve to citizens across Papua New Guinea eager for the formation of a new government.

There are good reasons for the PNG people to have great hope in Sir Mek, given he has an impressive track record in instituting economic reform.

Many Papua New Guineans will recall the difficulty the nation faced when he became prim minister. It took great courage to introduce painstaking reforms to bring the health of the economy back to a stable condition.

As a result, his leadership had its fair share of controversy but we can leave that to history and God to judge. If there is anything to learn from that trying time, it is that now we need courageous leadership.

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Book cooking and the PNG election

Paul Flanagan 2PAUL FLANAGAN | East Asia Forum | Extract

ON 9 July, Papua New Guinea’s Election Advisory Committee resigned in a devastating blow to the credibility of the country’s 2017 election.

The failure of the O’Neill government to provide this high level constitutional committee with factual electoral information suggests deliberate efforts to obstruct the truth.

The three-member election advisory committee is appointed by the governor general and is comprised of the chief ombudsman commissioner (or his nominee) and two other persons — a nominee from the Transparency International board and a retired judge or lawyer.

In its resignation letter, the committee indicated it was ‘prevented from performing its constitutional duties and roles’ because it has not been provided with baseline data and information nor been party to regular reporting.

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Alliance says it’s on verge of forming a new PNG government

The Alliance arrives in KokopoPETER S KINJAP

THE Alliance group seeking to establish itself as the new Papua New Guinea government, and led by the Pangu Party and National Alliance, is gaining numbers and momentum.

The Alliance said from Kokopo Sunday morning that it had 54 members, just two short of what is required to form a government, and six more MPs are expected to join it in Kokopo including defectors from the PNC ‘camp’ at Alotau..

Pangu Party leader Sam Basil welcomed newly elected Sohe MP Henry Jons Amuli as a new member of Pangu and thanked him.

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PNC accused of attempted abductions of 3 new MPs


THE attempts to kidnap three newly-elected members of parliament in Papua New Guinea are a sign of desperation by People's National Congress leaders.

Failed PNC candidate David Arore (pictured) sought to manhandle the new Ijivitari MP at Port Moresby airport this week in an attempt to kidnap him.

This came as the National Alliance-Pangu group increased the number of politicians opting to join it to form a coalition government when parliament begins next week.

Prime minister Peter O'Neill denied failed PNC MP Arore and other men were acting on behalf of the PNC in the Port Moresby kidnap attempt.

But today there were two further incidents of attempted kidnaps by PNC party elements.

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From cusp of defeat, O’Neill’s stunning attempt to seize election

O'Neill & cohorts at government house (A Rheeney)KEITH JACKSON

THE headlines variously read ‘O'Neill 'invited' to form government’, 'O'Neill gets tap to form government' and ‘People's National Congress invited to form PNG government’,

Naive headlines that gave a hint of legitimacy and respectability to what occurred in Papua New Guinea Friday.

But the day had witnessed the most breathtaking ploy yet in what has been a national election liberally laced with fraud, deceit, bribery, violence and manipulation.

With counting in 23 of the 111 seats still incomplete, electoral commissioner Paulias Gamato – already under a cloud for his conduct of the election – advised the governor-general that Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress commanded enough seats to form a government – a palpable lie.

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This is not the kind of country we want for our people


THE democratic system of government that we have today, had its origins during the French revolution.

The people revolted against the monarchy and sought to establish a new government that respected human freedoms, including freedom of thought and speech.

Democracy was seen as an alternative form of government against the monarchical power that ruled much of Europe.

Democracy was established to do away with the divine right of kings and diminish absolute power which corrupted those who wielded it.

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