Encyclopedia > Politics of Papua New Guinea

  Article Content

Politics of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. She is represented by a Governor General who is elected by Parliament and who performs mainly ceremonial functions. Papua New Guinea has three levels of government--national, provincial, and local. There is a 109-member unicameral Parliament, whose members are elected every 5 years. The Parliament in turn elects the prime minister, who appoints his cabinet from members of his party or coalition.

Members of Parliament are elected from 19 provinces and the national capital district of Port Moresby. Parliament introduced reforms in June 1995 to change the provincial government system, with regional (at-large) members of Parliament becoming provincial governors, while retaining their national seats in Parliament.

Papua New Guinea's judiciary is independent of the government. It protects constitutional rights and interprets the laws. There are several levels, culminating in the Supreme Court. Papua New Guinea's politics are highly competitive. Members of Parliament are elected on a "first past the post" system, with winners frequently gaining less than 15% of the vote. There are several parties, but party allegiances are not strong. Winning candidates are usually courted in efforts to forge the majority needed to form a government, and allegiances are fluid. No single party has yet won enough seats to form a government in its own right.

Papua New Guinea has a history of changes in government coalitions and leadership from within Parliament during the 5-year intervals between national elections. New governments are protected by law from votes of no confidence for the first 18 months of their incumbency, and no votes of no confidence may be moved in the 12 months preceding a national election.

The last national election was held in June 1997. The election was characterized by a large turnover in sitting members of Parliament and a number of veteran politicians, including former Prime Ministers Sir Julius Chan[?] and Pias Wingti[?], lost their seats. A large number of independents were elected. Eighty-eight of the 109 election victories were challenged by losing candidates in the courts, and some elections were annulled. The government was formed by a coalition of several parties. Bill Skate[?], the leader of the People's Congress Party[?], was elected Prime Minister. In July 1999, Skate resigned under threat of a motion of no confidence, and the Parliament elected Sir Mekere Morauta[?] Prime Minister, leaving Skate leader of the opposition. Many members of the Morauta cabinet served Skate as ministers.

On Bougainville Island, a rebellion had been under way from early 1989 until a truce came into effect in October 1997 and a permanent cease-fire was signed in April 1998. Under the eyes of a regional peace-monitoring force and a United Nations observer mission, the government and provincial leaders have established an interim government and are working toward election of a provincial government and a referendum on independence.

Country name:
conventional long form: Independent State of Papua New Guinea
conventional short form: Papua New Guinea
abbreviation: PNG

Data code: PP

Government type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Port Moresby

Administrative divisions: 20 provinces; Bougainville, Central, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, East New Britain, East Sepik, Enga, Gulf, Madang, Manus, Milne Bay, Morobe, National Capital, New Ireland, Northern, Sandaun, Southern Highlands, Western, Western Highlands, West New Britain

Independence: 16 September 1975 (from the Australian-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday: Independence Day, 16 September (1975)

Constitution: 16 September 1975

Legal system: based on English common law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Silas ATOPARE (since 13 November 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Mekere MORAUTA (since NA August 1999); Deputy Prime Minister Mao ZEMING (since NA December 1999)
cabinet: National Executive Council appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the National Executive Council; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general for up to five years on the basis of majority support in National Parliament

Legislative branch: unicameral National Parliament - sometimes referred to as the House of Assembly (109 seats, 89 elected from open electorates and 20 from provincial electorates; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 14-28 June 1997 (next to be held NA June 2002)
election results: percent of vote by party - PPP 15%, Pangu Pati 14%, NA 14%, PDM 8%, PNC 6%, PAP 5%, UP 3%, NP 1%, PUP 1%, independents 33%; seats by party - PPP 16, Pangu Pati 15, NA 15, PDM 9, PNC 7, PAP 5, UP 3, NP 1, PUP 1, independents 37; note - association with political parties is very fluid

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the proposal of the National Executive Council after consultation with the minister responsible for justice, other judges are appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission

Political parties and leaders: Black Action Party [Paul WANJIK]; Bougainville Unity Alliance or BUA [Samuel AKOITAI]; Christian Democratic Party [Dilu GOMA]; Hausman Party [Waim TOKAM]; League for National Advancement or LNA [leader NA]; Liberal Party [Rabbie SAMAI]; Melanesian Alliance or MA [Fr. John MOMIS]; Melanesian Labor Party [Paul MONDIA]; Milne Bay Party [Simon MUMURIK]; Movement for Greater Autonomy [Stephen POKAWIN]; National Alliance or NA [Michael SOMARE]; National Party or NP [Paul PORA]; Papua New Guinea First Party (includes People's National Congress or PNC [Simon KAUMI] and Christian Country Party [Avusi TANO]); Papua New Guinea United Party or Pangu Pati [Chris HAIVETA]; People's Action Party or PAP [Ted DIRO]; People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Iario LASARO]; People's National Alliance [leader NA]; People's Progress Party or PPP [Michael NALI]; People's Resources Awareness Party [leader NA]; People's Solidarity Party [Kala SWOKIM]; People's Unity Party or PUP [Alfred KAIABE]; United Party or UP [Rimbiuk PATO]; United Resource Party [Masket IANGALIO]

International organization participation: ACP, APEC, AsDB, ASEAN (observer), C, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OPCW, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Flag description: divided diagonally from upper hoist-side corner; the upper triangle is red with a soaring yellow bird of paradise centered; the lower triangle is black with five white five-pointed stars of the Southern Cross constellation centered

See also : Papua New Guinea



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
 
 
  
  Featured Article
John Lynch

... / Gradualism /Methodological naturalism / Philosophical naturalism / Creationism / Lamarck / Listing of noted agnostics / Pages Substantially Worked On (and ...