The Election of the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Parliament House

The Election of Prime Minister in Papua New Guinea – “Em Samting B’long Hausman”



“Praim Minista ino blo yupela votas, em samting blong mipela hausman [palamen Haus] (The choice of Prime Minister is not elected by the voters but by the elected representatives on the floor of parliament).This statement echoed by the National Planning Minister reminds us of the closed door policy of electing the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.

The Election of Prime Minister in Papua New Guinea

Commentary By CHRISTOPHER PAPIALI | Sunday Bulletin

“The Election of Prime Minister”

The election of Prime Minister in Papua New Guinea.

At a time when the nation is fired up next week to hear who has nominated to contest the 2022 National General Elections, we must not forget that the right person occupies the Prime Minister’s post.

Prime Minister, as alluded to by the National Planning Minister and Member for Finschhafen Open, Hon. Rainbo Paita while in Erave during the opening of the SHP/Gulf Missing Link Road Opening last month stated in these words in tok pisin:

“Praim Minista ino blo yupela votas, em samting blong mipela hausman [palamen Haus] (The choice of Prime Minister is not elected by the voters but by the elected representatives on the floor of parliament).This statement echoed by the National Planning Minister reminds us of the closed door policy of electing the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.

One may argue with me that our democratic representation of our speech and choice is through the elected MP and thus have the influence on the election of the Prime Minister. But this notion, somehow becomes abstract and certainly superfluous.

Why I am saying this is the elected MP when presented in parliament during the eve of the formation of the government and election of the Prime Minister, the intelligence and intuition of each MP is critical, and if misinformed and akin to self-centeredness the ultimate democratic principle of choice of all voters become nonexistent.

The election of the Prime Minister can be debated more in various forums and I am mindful that some political parties are using this as their policy matrix in this year’s election campaign trail.

Whatever it is, the perception of electing the Prime Minister by our elected MPs drives to a different dimension where most of our MPs think Prime Minister is someone higher than them, and that he is far superior when it comes to making decisions at the National Executive Council (NEC) level. The elected MPs also think all their project funding and DSIPs are wired to the final decision of the Prime Minister.

In retrospect, the current PNG Parliament System and the level of perception of the Prime Minister has changed unlike the 1980s and 1990s. In other words, the powerbase revolves around the Prime Minister although there are other Portfolio Ministers.

We have seen political twist on the 11th April, 2019 when current Prime Minister, James Marape resigned as Finance Minister from the O’Neill-Abel government. As later surfaced, Hon. James Marape saw powerbase of O’Neill and felt it should be otherwise.

Considering the fluidity of PNG Politics unusual and unexpected turn of events occur on the floor of parliament when electing the Prime Minister. We are mindful that the Prime Minister must come from the political party that has majority MPs.

Further, the Prime Minister must be someone who does not operate more deeply on party lines, or business associates, and so forth but he or she must be credible person that listens to both sides of the House when it comes to debates on the floor of parliament.

Already, we have chores of MPs rallying all over to decide on who they will decide to be their party leader and the eventual Prime Minister. And that lobbying and poking is normal in any democratic system of government but the perception surrounding the Prime Minister must be embedded on true principles of democratic leadership.

However, I think this view cannot provide the leverage considering the rationality of certain MPs. If the processes established to elect the Prime Minister is not reviewed or changed we could have a government that operates on aristocratic system of rule with the sizeable growth of middle-men benefiting more from the expenses of all tax payers.

The Election of the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Parliament House
Parliament House of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea







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