By Samisoni Pareti
James Marape is the new Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.
National parliament voted overwhelmingly for Marape when it took the vote for Prime Minister today. He won 101 votes to 8, beating the other nominee, Sir Mekere Morauta.
Former Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill was also a nominee, but withdrew minutes after he had accepted the nomination.
He told parliament that he had accepted the nomination in the belief that the opposition was only going to submit one candidate for prime minister.
After declared winner of the vote by Speaker Job Pomat, parliament was adjourned to allow the Prime Minister elect to call on the Governor General.
Marape, 48 was finance minister in Peter O’Neill’s government until April this year when he resigned to join the opposition.
He was the opposition’s first nominee for prime minister two weeks ago, but his name was dropped last week in favour of Patrick Pruaitch.
It was Pruaitch however who moved the nomination of O’Neill in parliament today, although he went onto to vote for Marape, and not Morauta when divisions were called.
Also voting for Marape was O’Neill and members of his PNC party.
EMTV says the only member of parliament that did not cast his vote and who was absent from today’s session was vocal Madang Open MP, Bryan Kramer.