Papua New Guinea

Two week election starts today


Published

Polling stations open today in Papua New Guinea for the general election which should resolve a month’s long battle as to who is the rightful Prime Minister.

There are some 9,800 polling points around the country which occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and hundreds of smaller tropical islands. Nearly 2,000 of the polling stations are so isolated that they can only be reached by seaplane which means that polling will take place over two weeks, not concluding until 6th July.

There are 3,435 candidates from 46 political parties standing for 111 seats in the National Parliament of Papua New guinea and around 4.8 million of the 6.5 million population are entitled to vote.

Last year the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, after months of absence due to illness, was removed from office by the parliament. He was replaced by Peter O’Neill, a coalition partner, but refused to accept the legitimacy of the move. For a time there were parallel Cabinets, two Army chiefs and two police chiefs.

Both men have gathered a number of smaller parties around them for the election where the system prevents any one party gaining an overall majority.

Research by Mell Research & Marketing Ltd (MRML) reportedly points to O’Neill and his allies winning the election.

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