PNG ready for polling, coalition govt in the making


Papua New Guinea Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai says all election materials for the 2022 General Election have been shipped to the provinces to prepare for polling.

He said his office had started sending materials last week and all provinces should have them ready for polling to begin on 4 July.

In a statement, Sinai said nearly 6,000 polling teams would be deployed throughout the country.

In releasing the final polling schedule report, Sinai said polling would start on July 4, and be conducted in 6,396 wards covering 346 local level government council areas across the country.

The commissioner said the number of polling teams had been increased to ensure polling was conducted at all scheduled polling sites and results delivered within the required time.

PNG parties agrees to form coalition government

Pangu Pati, National Alliance (NA) and United Resource Party (URP) say if victorious, they will unite to form government after the PNG polls.

Prime Minister James Marape said a Pangu, NA and URP-led government is being planned, and that the formation of the government will be in Wewak, East Sepik Province, to honour the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, and teach the new young leaders about what Pangu and NA meant to Sir Michael, and their history in the political arena of PNG.

National Alliance Party leader Patrick Pruaitch said Marape has obviously been stating his desire to keep his coalition government together after the 2022 election.

“However, the reality will kick in when the results are made known,” Pruaitch said.

NA member and Governor for East Sepik Allan Bird said: “We are a coalition government. We have an agreement and I see no reason why we should not stick with our agreement. No party has ever ruled on their own and this election will be no different.”

URP leader and Hagen Central MP William Duma had no comment.

Unseat Pangu says PNG Opposition Leader

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader and Papua New Guinea (PNG) Party leader Belden Namah claims that the Pangu Pati-led Government has borrowed too much.

“They must, therefore, refrain from returning Pangu Pati candidates to Parliament in General Election 2022 (GE22),” he added.

Namah said when the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare was prime minister, the country’s debt was K8.6 billion (US$2.4 billion).

“Somare managed the debt well with prudent financial management.

“But when the People’s National Congress (PNC) party took over the Government, the debt ballooned to K26 billion (or up K17.4 billion).

“When Pangu Pati took over on 30 May, 2019, the debt ballooned further to K53 billion (US$15 billion) (up K27 billion (US$7.6 billion),” he added.

Namah was speaking at a PNG Party rally in Ratavul village in Kokopo, East New Britain this week.

He said the Pangu Pati, in the past three years, borrowed K27 billion (US$7.6 billion) but “there are no investments or development to show”.

Meanwhile, Namah told The National that his party would amend the country’s Constitution to allow religion to be a department of its own and one-tenth of the national budget would be allocated to boost the work of spreading the gospel.