Published 25th June, 2012
The Pangu Party or Papua and Niugini Union Pati was founded in 1968 by Michael Somare.
In 1972 the party formed a coalition government and subsequently led the country to independence in 1975. Michael Somare became the country’s first Prime Minister.
In 1977 the party was the largest party in the National Parliament with 40 seats and that increased to what was to be its highest point in 1982 when it won 61 of the 109 seats.
The party was never to do better and went into a slow decline. This came about partly as a result of major splits in the party.
In 1985 Paias Wingti left to form the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), in 1986 Anthony Siaguru left to form the League for National Advancement and in 1996 Michael Somare was dropped from the Cabinet and left to join the National Alliance Party (NAP).
All of this resulted in the party’s fortunes tumbling. In 1987 the party won 27 seats; that dropped to 22 in 1992, the last time they were to be the largest party in the National Parliament.
In 1997 Pangu took 13 seats, in 2002 that went down further to six seats and in 2007 they dropped to five seats in the 109 seat National Parliament. Since 2002 Pangu has been part of Sir Michael Somare’s coalition government.