THREE new faces have now entered the political scene by winning their respective seats in the 2017 Papua New Guinea National Election.
One is newly elected Namatanai MP Walter Schnaubelt who ousted Mining Minister Byron Chan.
Two are former MPs who made a comeback to national politics.
Petrus Thomas, an independent, was re-elected to Koroba-Kopiago after a 10-year break. Koroba-Kopiago had been left vacant after incumbent Philip Undialu decided to contest the Hela Regional seat.
Koni Iguan, a Pangu Party candidate, reclaimed the seat by beating Housing Minister Paul Isikiel in the Markham Open in Morobe Province.
Other MPs who have been re-elected are Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for Ialibu-Pangia, James Marape (Tari-Pori), Justin Tkatchenko (Moresby South), Allan Marat (Rabaul) and Sam Basil (Bulolo).
This brings the total tally in political party standing to People’s National Congress Party – three, National Alliance – one, Pangu – two, Melanesian Liberal Party – one and independents – one.
Elimination of votes is currently being conducted in Manus where two PNC candidates are leading, Finschhafen where Speaker Theodore Zurenuoc has been struggling but leading against a Pangu tide sweeping through Morobe Province. Elimination is also progressing in Hela Regional, Komo-Margarima Open and East New Britain.
Manus has gone down to the wire as of late Sunday with PNC candidates Job Pomat (Manus Open) and Charlie Benjamin (Regional), leading in the final elimination and winners declared (see page 3).
The country should have a clear picture on the outcome of the election results by this week and which parties are likely to form government based on the numbers game.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told the people of Southern Highlands in Mendi and that of Ialibu-Pangia that the ruling People’s National Congress Party will form the Government.
O’Neill said in his address to the people of Southern Highlands at the Momei Oval in Mendi that he was confident that PNC would have the number to form the next Government in the coming weeks.
Flanked by all members from Southern Highlands he told the people that PNC would form the next government and continue to move Papua New Guinea forward.
O’Neill said the PNC had campaigned on policy issues, not smear and slander, and that was why people were responding well by giving their support.
“We went to this election telling people what we would deliver in education, healthcare, law and order, agriculture and infrastructure, over the next five years.
“Our promises to the people are clear and can be delivered, and we have a proven track-record to deliver on our promises.
“Our country deserves stability and this is what we will continue to deliver for the next five years.
“We will work with like-minded and policy focused members to form the Government.
“We are not interested in dealing with members who are self-serving, or members who would try to hold Government to ransom over their petty politics.
“As the largest party in the Parliament, the public will have given us a mandate to form Government, and we hope that mandate will be respected.”
O’Neill backed his statement with the running tally as reports come in that the progressive political party results has People’s National Congress Party leading in the top three seats – PNC: 63, National Alliance: 29, PPP: 17, Pangu:16, PNGNP:13, THE:13, PNGP: 11, URP:11 and all others below 10. So far only seven seats had been declared by Sunday.
The ruling PNC Party has three declared MPs, Pangu one, NA one, Melanesian Liberal Party one and independents had the highest number with 70 candidates in the top three spots.
Last night PNC was supposed to have two more of its party members declared in Manus but was moved to today.