PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Parliamentary Chamber: National Parliament

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2002

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Chamber:
  National Parliament


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  15 June 2002
29 June 2002


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  Voters went to the polls for a period of two weeks commencing on 15 June 2002, to elect the 109 members of the sixth legislature since the country's first general elections in 1977.

The elections were so marred by violence, deaths (at least 25 people were killed and many more injured), stolen ballot boxes, multiple voting and incomplete electoral rolls that observers declared them the worst ever. The elections were also marred by a lack of funding for transport and personnel, as a result of which electoral officials were unable to access remote areas where about one-fourth of the country's voters live. The major transport company contracted by the Electoral Commission, Pacific Helicopters, grounded its fleet in late June for several days after failing to receive outstanding payments. Some were denied the right to vote and no polling teams could be sent to remote villages. In addition, the breakdown in transport and organization delayed voting in many regions, as electoral officials refused to continue unless they were paid. As a result of these and security problems, voting was extended by an extra week beyond the scheduled two weeks in one of the most troubled regions of the country, the Highlands.

A record 2,875 candidates representing 43 parties contested the elections in a country where no government has served a full five-year term since independence from neighbouring Australia in 1975. People were increasingly dissatisfied about the performance of their political representatives, amid the deterioration of the country's economy and continuing allegations of political corruption. Over the past two decades, a series of shaky coalition governments have bowed to IMF and World Bank demand for economic restructuring, with devastating consequences that have made villagers in impoverished rural areas lose faith in the major parties.

During the electoral campaign, outgoing Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta, leader of the People's Democratic Movement Party, underscored his government's achievements in reducing the country's inflation rate, from a high 22 percent at the time when he took power to just 9.3 percent in 2002. The opposition for its part made a primary commitment to the people to fight corruption and the misuse of public funds.

With results declared, Sir Mekere Morauta's party secured just 12 seats, down from 39 in the previous Parliament. The National Alliance, led by former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, obtained 15 seats and received the backing of seven other parties to form a new government.

On 30 July 2002, Governor General Sir Silas Atopare asked Sir Michael Somare to form a new Government and he presented his new Cabinet on 13 August 2002. A few days before, Parliament had held its first sitting and elected Former Prime Minister Bill Skate as its new Speaker.

STATISTICS

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
National Alliance (NA) 19
People's Democratic Movement (PDM) 12
People's Progress Party 8
Papua New Guinea Union Party 6
People's Action Party (PAP) 5
People's Labour Party 4
Christian Democratic Party 3
National Party 3
United Party 3
Melanesian Alliance (MA) 3
Pan Melanesian Congress Party 2
Nation Transformation Party 2
People's National Congress (PNC) 2
People's Solidarity Party 2
Independents 17
Other parties 18

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 108
Women: 1
Percent of women: 0.92


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Copyright 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union