Final elections results delayed a week
The results of the long drawn out general election in Papua New Guinea were due to be announced today. Throughout the election there have been long delays because of the logistical difficulties experienced in the widespread country with many small inhabited islands. This has led Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen to seek a one week extension to the declaration from Governor General Sir Michael Ogio.
The knock on effect is that the opening of the 111 seat parliament will now be delayed by one week to either 8th or 9th August. At that opening the parliament will elect first a Speaker and then a Prime Minister, most likely to be Peter O’Neill.
Prior to the election there was a bitter rivalry between O’Neill and the former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare. Earlier this week that dispute appeared to have been patched up with Sir Michael stating that he would give his backing to Peter O’Neill as prime minister.
O’Neill’s party, the People’s National Congress (PNC) has nearly double the number of seats, at 22 seats, than any other party so far. The second largest party, Triumph, Heritage, Empowerment (THE) led by Don Poyle has said that it will form a coalition with the PNC. However, O’Neill will have a tough job on his hands to build a coalition government from the 18 parties with seats in the new parliament as well as a large number of Independents.