Elections Feed

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.

Continue reading "Peter O'Neill re-elected as prime minister with comfortable majority" »

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.

Continue reading "Is it constitutional to elect both the PM & Speaker today?" »

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.

Continue reading "Election diary: How will our children remember this violent time?" »

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.

Continue reading "Take PNG's side to protect and defend our union" »

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.

Continue reading "O’Neill appeal wanes as Alliance moves to secure majority" »

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.

Continue reading "How this PNG election miscarried. Let me name the ways…." »

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.

Continue reading "Desperation of O'Neill & PNC cohorts reaches new heights" »

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.

Continue reading "At this critical time, PNG needs greatness to step forward" »

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.

Continue reading "Book cooking and the PNG election" »

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.

Continue reading "Alliance says it’s on verge of forming a new PNG government" »

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.

Continue reading "PNC accused of attempted abductions of 3 new MPs" »

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.

Continue reading "From cusp of defeat, O’Neill’s stunning attempt to seize election" »

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.

Continue reading "This is not the kind of country we want for our people" »

Arson, violence, kidnapping & attempt to steal Sir Mek’s seat

Sir Mekere Moraura speaks at his declarationERIC TLOZEK | Australian Broadcasting Corporation

THE final day of Papua New Guinea's election counting saw buildings burned, an alleged kidnapping attempt and a confusing declaration of two winners for one seat.

Election authorities in the capital Port Moresby were left bewildered after a returning officer went missing, then privately declared the third-placed candidate as the winner of a seat instead of a former prime minister who opposes the current government.

The seat was won that morning by the former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta — a strident critic of sitting Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and key player in the moves to unseat him this election.

Sir Mekere was declared the winner in the tally room in front of officials, senior police and the media, but the returning officer for his seat of Port Moresby Northwest, Moka Havara, went missing without signing the writ.

His superiors were told he was in hospital.

Continue reading "Arson, violence, kidnapping & attempt to steal Sir Mek’s seat" »

Constable Jimmy’s last words: “I’m 4 u PNG & die as PNG”

Constable Glenn Jimmy (EMTV)ELIZAH PALME | Asia Pacific Report

DUTY called for two police officers and other members of Papua New Guinea’s Mt Hagen Mobile Squad 6 last weekend.

It took them out of the Tambul area in the Western Highlands province to provide security for the 2017 national election in neighbouring Enga province.

Obeying their call, constables Glenn Jimmy, Alex Kopa and their team served in Enga until fate met them at the front gate of My Kids Inn, Sangurap residential area, last Saturday morning.

And Constable Jimmy had left behind some poignant words on Facebook for his fellow PNG citizens.

The officers started off a new day preparing to tackle the usual struggles – the heat, crowd control, monitoring the counting area, officials and unexpected events.

Continue reading "Constable Jimmy’s last words: “I’m 4 u PNG & die as PNG”" »

Global watchdog condemns media election crackdown in PNG

Martyn Namorong not talking Namorong gaggedKEITH JACKSON

THE international watchdog on media freedom and journalists’ rights, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has condemned “the many media freedom violations” that it says have occurred during the current Papua New Guinea general elections.

In enumerating a number of specific cases of media restriction by government officials, the organisation points out that journalists covering the elections in Madang were denied access by police and the now notorious electoral commission and that media were not allowed to film or take photos in Port Moresby’s main tally room.

RSF also said that “amid many reports on social networks of vote-buying and violence” authorities also took alarming measures against citizen journalists.

It cited the case of blogger and political commentator Martyn Namorong who referred to electoral commissioner Patilias Gamato as ‘Tomato’ in one of his many posts criticising election process.

Continue reading "Global watchdog condemns media election crackdown in PNG" »

Diary of an election: death & destruction in Enga

Vehicles and store burning in WabagDANIEL KUMBON

I AM terribly sorry I cannot I attend the Sunshine Coast international readers and writers festival.

Even if my new book, ‘Survivor – Alive in Mum’s Loving Arms’, a collection of three true stories about women in Enga Province, had been published on time, I would not have been able to travel to Australia.

My family and I have been confined to our house for the last few days due to shocking election-related violence, death and destruction in Wabag town where I live.

The violent scenes I witnessed many years ago and described in my new book were played out again in Wabag last Saturday.

Three political supporters and two policemen were shot dead. A third policeman was airlifted to Port Moresby for treatment. The assistant returning officer for Kandep and two other people are in critical condition in Wabag hospital. Returning officer, Ben Besawe narrowly escaped death when the vehicle he was travelling in was sprayed with bullets.

Continue reading "Diary of an election: death & destruction in Enga" »

New MPs must understand the people’s mandate is not for sale


THE counting and declaration of winning candidates in the 2017 elections is nearing completion and lobbying leading to the formation of a new government has begun.

This will intensify in the coming days and, while this horse trading continues, elected members need to bear in mind that the people’s mandate is not for them to sell or for others to buy.

Indications are that the battle will be between a Pangu-National Alliance led grand coalition, assembling in Goroka, and a group led by the governing People’s National Congress who are camping in Alotau.

Peter O’Neill will definitely be the prime ministerial nominee for the PNC-led Alotau team.

Continue reading "New MPs must understand the people’s mandate is not for sale" »

Election in the Highlands

Wardley Barry at workWARDLEY BARRY

The songs in the hausman are gone;
the candidate is left alone.
There are no more mumus to feast;
open arms have become clenched fists.
The excitement has given way
to disgruntlement and dismay.

You lied, I listened and I lost.
If you win, you win at a cost.
I'll take your daughter so you will weep;
I'll burn your house so you can't sleep.
Because of you I lost a seat,
so I'll make sure your win ain't sweet.

During the campaign we have fine leaders;
after election we have lawbreakers.

Gamato should resign after failed ‘ghost-busting’ defence

Patilias Gamato (The National)PAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics

ON Friday, the Papua New Guinean electoral commissioner, Patilias Gamato, issued a media release responding to claims made about the inadequacies of the 2017 voter common roll.

In the release, Mr Gamato (pictured) seriously misrepresented my earlier analysis (see articles here and here).

More intriguing, he seriously misrepresented what he himself tried to demonstrate in his media release.

Firstly, on the ludicrous claim that one cannot compare the 2017 electoral roll with the 2011 census (claiming that they are apples and oranges), he himself had made this exact same comparison on 9 April:

Continue reading "Gamato should resign after failed ‘ghost-busting’ defence" »

99% chance PNG election was biased: O’Neill & Gamato’s shame

Ghost voters hugely favour PNCPAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics

As foreshadowed in his last article, Paul Flanagan has undertaken additional & sought independent statistical analysis on the strength of bias towards the Peter O’Neill’s ruling People’s National Congress in Papua New Guinea’s 2017 election, in which counting is slow and still only about one-quarter complete. “Possibly there is some cause other than the electoral commissioner not performing his duties to the standards expected by the people of PNG,” Paul writes in a note. “To clear his name, he should release more information, the type of information he should have given to the electoral advisory committee before it resigned” - KJ

PAPUA New Guinea’s election has unquestionably been biased in favour of the O’Neill government.

The army of 300,000 People’s National Congress ghost voters - over 6,000 for every PNC electorate on average - is almost a statistical certainty. It is a level of gross manipulation that even surprised me.

My last article indicated some extraordinary differences in the numbers of “ghost voters” (or “excess electors”, or “inflated rolls”) when comparing PNC electorates to non-PNC electorates.

Continue reading "99% chance PNG election was biased: O’Neill & Gamato’s shame" »

Kerenga Kua says he will work for Peter O’Neill’s ouster as PM


KUNDIAWA in Simbu Province came to a standstill yesterday as supporters of popular Sinesine-Yongomugl MP Kerenga Kua celebrated his re-election with chanting, singing and dancing throughout the Four Corner Town.

Sinesine-Yongomugl was the first Simbu seat to be declared after two weeks of laborious counting.

In the afternoon more than 5,000 loyal supporters of Kua gathered to witness his declaration and victory speech.

Kua is parliamentary leader of the revived PNG National Party and party executives led by David Yak were at the scene to witness his declaration in a ceremony beginning with a powerful prayer from Pastor Elias Wemin.

Michael Robert, a leader of the Tabare local level government and who paid Kua’s nomination fee, offered opening remarks.

Continue reading "Kerenga Kua says he will work for Peter O’Neill’s ouster as PM" »

PNC's Pundari may join grand coalition to form new government


PEOPLE’S National Congress will be in for a big surprise if re-elected Kompiam Ambum member John Pundari aligns himself with the grand coalition that might form the next government of Papua New Guinea.

Pundari (pictured) is presently being counted among the PNC candidates who have won seats so far.

But during campaigning he never used official PNC tee-shirts, caps and posters supplied by the party. He opted to print his own election collaterals.

Pundari was never an original member of PNC but joined the party later along with Enga Governor, Grand Chief Sir Peter Ipatas, and Wabag MP Robert Ganim.

These three Enga-based members dissolved their own PP party and incorporated it with PNC.

Continue reading "PNC's Pundari may join grand coalition to form new government" »

When a government brutalises & deceives, true patriots arise

Kerenga Kua shows the crowd the Ku High School Anthology 2014FRANCIS NII

AS A citizen of this beautiful, rich poverty-stricken country of Papua New Guinea, I congratulate Kerenga Kua for his re-election as the member for the Simbu seat of Sinesine-Yongomugl in the tenth national parliament.

It is the heartfelt desire of the Simbu people and most other Papua New Guineans across the country that Kerenga Kua (pictured) along with other patriots Sam Basil, Gary Juffa, Bire Kimisopa, Allan Marat, Bryan Kramer, Mekere Morauta, Don Polye, Belden Nama and others be elected so they can lead a team who can rescue our country from its current predicament.

In Simbu, this desire was manifested in the huge support for Kerenga in social media, at meetings and through other modes of communication during the campaign period.

Thanks to the people of Sinesine-Yongomugl for being kind in returning their paramount chief and Simbu’s favourite son for a second term as national member of parliament at a time when the government is hell-bent on colluding and engaging in high level corruption.

Continue reading "When a government brutalises & deceives, true patriots arise" »

Sir Mek invites new MPs to join friendly parties & not PNC


I URGE all newly-elected independent members of parliament to join the independent team or friendly parties in opposition, but not People’s National Congress.

Peter O’Neill and PNC have tried every possible trick to rig the election.

Despite this, opposition candidates have made strong gains – witness the sweep Pangu is making in Morobe - while other opposition parties and independents are leading in most seats.

These MPs-elect have fought strong campaigns against the odds and won. PNC is out-numbered 2-1 in the declarations so far. Opposition parties have joined together to provide a very clear alternative to Peter O’Neill.

Continue reading "Sir Mek invites new MPs to join friendly parties & not PNC" »

Supporters on arson rampage after Speaker Zurenuoc’s defeat


VENGEFUL supporters of defeated parliamentary speaker Theo Zurenuoc have burned down three schools and a police station at Gagidu in the Finschhafen district.

The violent mob also attacked police and bystanders and forced the returning officer to flee and hide in dear of his life.

Zurenuoc (pictured), notorious for ordering the removal of heritage artefacts from parliament house on the grounds they were “demonic” and causing disruption, lost to the Pangu Party’s Rainbow Paita in a Pangu revival which swept through Morobe Province.

The PNG Post-Courier reported that three elementary schools and a newly built police station were burned in the rampage. Vehicles belonging to the church were also stolen, allegedly by Zurenuoc supporters.

Continue reading "Supporters on arson rampage after Speaker Zurenuoc’s defeat" »

Who will be Papua New Guinea's prime minister?

ProfileJOHNNY BLADES | Radio New Zealand International

AS Papua New Guinea's lengthy and troubled national election nears a climax, lobbying to form the next coalition government is intensifying.

For those who have enjoyed watching the action so far, the shambolic polling period giving way to a testy vote counting process that is still underway, don't fret: the election never really ends.

Typically, following PNG's five-yearly election, dozens of petitions end up in the court of disputed returns, taking years to be processed.

It's clear that this time, there will be many petitions, given the surfeit of flaws in the election, even if some of them are perennial problems.

Continue reading "Who will be Papua New Guinea's prime minister?" »

How to stop PNC from forming the next government


THERE is a possibility to stop Peter O’Neill and the People’s National Congress Party from forming the next government after writs are returned, however it is up to all other parties and independent candidates-elect to take a united stand to ensure this can happen.

In Papua New Guinea, no single party has ever mustered an absolute majority of winning candidates in an election so it could automatically assume power.

From the results so far of the current election, history is going to repeat itself when all the seats are declared.

PNC might muster more seats than other parties but it will certainly not reach an absolute majority of 56 elected members to assume office in its own right.

Continue reading "How to stop PNC from forming the next government" »

Sorcery blamed for missing votes in Sepik election count


ALLEGATIONS of sorcery may have forced a recount of votes in some Papua New Guinea electorates.

Reports fromthe Angoram and Yangoru-Saussia electorates in East Sepik Province indicated a recount was ordered after various candidates' teams alleged sorcery might have been used to remove ballots from boxes.

In Angoram the lead petitioner for the recount, Timothy Yangmari, claimed his votes were disappearing as the result of sinister forces.

Similarly, in Yangoru, candidates asked pastors and priests to pray over ballot boxes to keep them safe as the counting process in Papua New Guinea's general election inched forward.

Continue reading "Sorcery blamed for missing votes in Sepik election count" »

"I don't look like a tomato, I'm a human being,” says Gamato

M Namorong - statement of claim by GamatoSTEFAN ARMBRUSTER | SBS World News

A PAPUA New Guinea newspaper has published the full claim for a gag order by the country's electoral commissioner Patilias Gamato against an anti-corruption campaigner to stop being called "Mr Tomato".

"He is not a vegetable," states the claim to restrain Martyn Namorong "from further writing (printing) or causing to be written (printed, broadcast) or otherwise publishing of the plaintiffs the alleged, or any similar libel".

Mr Gamato is seeking punitive and aggravated damages for "stress, anxiety and loss of reputation" and a costs order.

National Court Justice Collin Makail last week ordered the Statement of Claim be published in newspapers and the case return to court on 25 July, when election writs are due to be returned.

"He made some defamatory statements and also called my surname, which is Gamato as 'tomato'," the ABC reported Mr Gamato as saying at a press conference in the capital Port Moresby.

Tomato"I don't look like a tomato, I'm a human being. He put a big tomato on my head, what if he did that to you?"

Election turmoil in PNG has seen Mr Gamato criticised on social media for the conduct of the election.

“On or about 27 June 2017 in the (sic) Defendant wrote or published in his tweeter (sic) account by calling the Plaintiff as (sic) Mr Tomato, the defendant maliciously wrote and published in his tweeter account and these (sic) has gone viral on social media in particular Facebook by tarnishing the surname of the Plaintiff (Gamato),” said the statement of claim signed by Kemno’nga Robin Kawat of Kawat Lawyers published in The National newspaper.

“The publication ... by calling him Tomato has tarnished his reputation in the way of his occupation, profession and office the Plaintiff occupies and in relation to his conduct therein) (sic) the following defamatory words.”

Five tweets are reproduced in the statement referring to “Tomato”, “#ELECTIONfraud” and the discovery of K184,300 (A$73,000) on returning officers, “revenge politics” over students being denied “the right to vote”, ties to the incumbent prime minister Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress party and calls for him to resign.

Mr Gamato claims he was defamed by being called unqualified, accused of mismanaging the elections, politically compromised and that he “conspired to rig the elections”.

Namorong gaggedMr Namorong has posted photos on his social media accounts of him gagged or drinking beer.

After initially posting he needed a lawyer, in a recent comment on Saturday Mr Namorong states: "I'm fine".

A Commonwealth election observer's report last week said “all aspects” of the election process needed to be reviewed, reporting "widespread" electoral roll irregularities, late starts to polling and other issues.

It added the observers were “disappointed” recommendations made after the 2012 election had not been implemented.

Tomatoes are botanically not classified as vegetables.

  Martyn & beers

Western powers anxious as crisis around elections deepens

Sir Anand SatyanandJOHN BRADDOCK | World Socialist Website | Extracts

FOLLOWING the resignation of Papua New Guinea’s electoral advisory committee last week, the crisis surrounding the country’s parliamentary elections has intensified.

Polls closed on 8 July, ending a two-week voting period dominated by widespread reports of vote rigging, incomplete electoral rolls, ballot box tampering and bribery.

The three members of the official watchdog collectively resigned, accusing the electoral commission that is running the poll of not allowing them access to basic information.

The members—chief ombudsman nominee Richard Pagen, Transparency International nominee Richard Kassman and lawyer John Luluaki—declared the committee was “prevented from performing its constitutional duties and roles.” It had not been equipped with “baseline data and information, nor have we been party to regular reporting.”

Continue reading "Western powers anxious as crisis around elections deepens" »

Incumbency in Papua New Guinea: the minuses & the pluses

Standish_BillBILL STANDISH | Devpolicy Blog

THE prolonged vote counting in Papua New Guinea’s election provides a slight hiatus to consider political incumbency – the benefits of holding office and its potential disadvantages.

Counting is complex and hazardous, subject to delays by staff and security forces demanding allowances.

The scrutiny of each electorate involves thousands of transfers of preferences from losing candidates to stronger ones until one of the last few candidates garners a majority of the remaining live votes.

Apart from possible arithmetical error by exhausted officials, it is a phase when deliberate fraud has occurred in the past. Tensions can erupt in violence.

Continue reading "Incumbency in Papua New Guinea: the minuses & the pluses" »

Mantra of Solace

The candidatesFRANCIS NII

This verse is offered as a consolation for the many candidates in the 2017 Papua New Guinean national election who have been physically affected and psychologically hurt by its challenges and traumas - FSN

The tireless drudgery will end
There shall be leisure

The agonising scramble will end
There shall be no more insomnia

The sore throats will heal
There shall be tranquillity

Continue reading "Mantra of Solace" »

UPNG students struggled to have voices heard at election

Elizah PalmeELIZAH PALME | Asia Pacific Report

UNIVERSITY of Papua New Guinea students have spoken through the ballot box in spite of being provided with 2,000 ballot papers less than required and discrepancies in the electoral roll.

But some 3,600 students of 5,000 eligible voters were deprived of the right to vote.

One of their representatives, Gerald Peni, was a scrutineer to make sure their votes were counted in Port Moresby.

Scrutineers for a number of candidates raised concerns regarding the ballot boxes, claiming a breach of electoral process.

Some said many students used their identification cards to vote, which is unconstitutional, hence the votes should be declared informal.

Continue reading "UPNG students struggled to have voices heard at election" »

Jackson is right – this election can yield positive outcomes


LIKE Keith Jackson, I believe there will be a lot of positive outcomes from this election.

Reading the different messages on social media and the reported cases of citizens standing up for what is right is a great sign and makes me confident that the 2017 election will go down in history as a turning point for Papua New Guinea.

The ordinary citizen will have learnt more about transparency in voting, more about political party systems and more about the accountability required between leaders and citizens.

Social media will have played a major part in shaping unity from diversity. I read about young people expressing themselves like true Papua New Guineans and not based on regional groupings.

Continue reading "Jackson is right – this election can yield positive outcomes" »

PNG drives away its Australian friends as a result of this election


AS the revelations about the 2017 elections keep rolling in, I’m finding myself reluctantly agreeing with those observers who are labelling it the worst ever election in Papua New Guinea’s history.

Paul Flanagan’s analysis of ghost voter numbers and mathematical impossibilities coupled with the information from Jimmy Awagl and Francis Nii seem to provide indisputable proof that a concerted effort to game the results has been carried out by Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress, probably with the collusion of the electoral commissioner.

What I find most incredible are the crude methods used by the PNC and its supporters. They are so childish the perpetrators must have known they would be quickly exposed.

Continue reading "PNG drives away its Australian friends as a result of this election" »

Election-related corruption originated from electoral commission


THE title of this article may raise eyebrows but I believe I have evidence to show it is factual and I suspect that electoral commissioner Patilius Gamato is likely to be knowingly involved.

The first indication of manipulation came with the printing and circulation of an extra five million ballot papers above and beyond the number of eligible voters. It will be interesting to learn how Gamato [pictured] accounts for this.

As reported by Jimmy Awagl in a recent article in PNG Attitude, after pressure from candidates, scrutineers and general public, the Simbu election steering committee demanded from electoral commissioner Gamato that all boxes of ballot papers sent from Port Moresby be opened and verified against the eligible voting population in each ward.  

Continue reading "Election-related corruption originated from electoral commission" »

The big rort – 300,000 ghost voters & mathematical impossibilities

Total ghost votesPAUL FLANAGAN

STATISTICAL indicators suggest that Papua New Guinea’s O’Neill government used its power of incumbency to ‘cook the books’ in its favour in the current election.

Comparing the 2017 electoral roll with electorate population estimates based on the 2011 census, the Electoral Commission has created nearly 300,000 ‘ghost voters’ in People’s National Congress-controlled electorates.

This is 5,682 ghost voters for every PNC sitting member – more than 10 times the number of ghost voters for non-PNC sitting members.

PNC members are also being declared elected based on mathematical impossibilities.

PNG’s vibrant democracy, including its extraordinary diversity and combination of individual choice and clan loyalties, may still be able to overcome such electoral bias in favour of O’Neill.

Continue reading "The big rort – 300,000 ghost voters & mathematical impossibilities" »

This flawed election – could it open up a new political era?


DESPITE the many observed (not by the official observers it seems) indications of election rigging– ballot box manipulation, ballot paper rorting, vote buying, election manager malfeasance and else – far worse than anything previously reported in Papua New Guinea – and the sheer incompetence of the electoral commission – this election of 2017 has been a watershed for a struggling nation.

And struggling it should not be. There has been sufficient wealth created in this place over the last 20 years to have this richly resourced land and its industrious people on a consistent upward-sloping economic trajectory.

But too much of the bounty of this land of seven million, far too much, has been wasted and stolen – denying an increasingly deprived people of their inheritance and their due.

The former colonial masta, Australia, instead of being a reliable friend and an astute strategic partner has participated in a cynical exercise of exploiting a complicit and avaricious PNG government in the interests of Australia’s own shallow and short-term political objectives.

Continue reading "This flawed election – could it open up a new political era?" »

How Simbus intervened to try to secure an honest election

Election in SimbuJIMMY AWAGL

THE hijacking of ballot papers and a manipulated common roll have becomes a nationwide scandal among Papua New Guinea’s voters.

It seems that the O’Neill ruling government has had influence over the common roll, ballot papers and ballot boxes to give every People’s National Congress candidate a better chance in this failed election.

The arrival of polling materials in Simbu Province a week prior to the scheduled date was secretive.

But speculation of hijacking and manipulating polling and counting spread among the people anyway.

The Simbu people have long been suspicious of the desperation of power hungry political parties.

Continue reading "How Simbus intervened to try to secure an honest election" »

Why is it that Australians think the worst of PNG?

PNG-2012-elections-Flickr-Defence-DFAT-CC-BY-2.0ROWAN CALLICK | The Australian

MANY Australians, perhaps most, merely have been shrugging at news of the shoddy administration of Papua New Guinea’s five-yearly election.

Large numbers of voters were left off the new rolls and counting is still at an early stage, although it’s a week today since polling stopped. At this rate, Australia’s national broadband network roll-out may be finished first.

Three members of an independent electoral watchdog resigned, feeling they had been prevented from carrying out their task.

But why do Australians usually think the worst of our closest neighbours? Amazingly, few have even been there. OK, the fares aren’t cheap and the hotel prices are mostly exorbitant. But I would have imagined a sense of curiosity, at least, might have driven more just to take a look.

Continue reading "Why is it that Australians think the worst of PNG?" »