Parliamentary Chamber: National Parliament


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  National Parliament

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  14 June 1997
28 June 1997

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:

  Following the previous (June 1992) general elections, Prime Minister Paias Wingti resigned and was succeeded in August 1994 by Sir Julius Chan, who announced on taking office that this administration’s priorities would include more stringent controls on Government expenditure and a reduction in the country’s consistently large budget deficit.

The 1997 general elections came at a time of crisis involving a military mutiny, riots, uproar over corruption in official circles and a separatist insurgency on the island of Bougainville. In connection with the last issue Prime Minister Chan resigned in March in the wake of a scandal related to mercenary forces. He was succeeded by Mr. John Giheno, who was appointed in a caretaker capacity until the poll.

Altogether 2370 candidates - including many independents - vied for the 109 seats at stake. The main parties in contention were the Pangu (Papua New Guinea Unity) Pati (PP) led by Mr. Chris Haiveta, the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) headed by Mr. Wingti, the People’s Progress Party (PPP) of Mr. Chan and the National Alliance headed by former Prime Minister Michael Somare. Campaign debate focused chiefly on the Bougainville affair, economic problems and corruption.

Due to Papua New Guinea’s rugged terrain and spread-out area, polling spanned two weeks and was moreover marred by violence. According to final results announced on 15 July, several Ministers, including Mr. Giheno and Mr. Chan, lost their seats but Deputy Prime Minister Haiveta was successful, thus bucking the anti-incumbent trend. The bulk of parliamentary seats went to independents, PPP and PP. In this context, Mr. Bill Skate, leader of the small People's National Congress (PNC), was elected Prime Minister on 22 July and the new, coalition National Executive Council (Cabinet) also comprised members of the PPP and PP. The outgoing coalition Government had comprised the PDM, PPP and the League for National Advancement (LNA), supported by some independents.

Round no 1 (14 June 1997): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 2,600,000 (approx.)

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
People's Progress Party (PPP) 16
Pangu Pati (PP) 15
People's Democratic Movement (PDM) 9
People's Action Party (PAP) 6
National Alliance (NA) 6
People's National Congress (PNC) 5
Melanesian Alliance (MA) 4
Peoples Resource Awareness Party (PRAP) 2
United Party (UP) 2
Independents 38
Others 6

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 107
Women: 2
Percent of women: 1.83

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Copyright 1997 Inter-Parliamentary Union