Is it constitutional to elect both the PM & Speaker today?
Sins of Our Fathers

Peter O'Neill re-elected as prime minister with comfortable majority

Peter O'Neill todayKEITH JACKSON

AS the lights went out in Papua New Guinea's parliament house during the crucial vote for Speaker a short time ago, so they went out symbolically for the many Papua New Guineans who were hoping for a change of government after a violent, chaotic and probably corrupted national election.

Manus politician Job Pomat, something of an unknown quantity but the offering of Peter O'Neill's PNC Party, defeated the Alliance's Dr Allan Marat 60 votes to 46 in a decisive result for the incumbent prime minister despite a resurgent opposition.

Soon after, in the parliamentary vote for prime minister, Peter O'Neill was elected for a second term.

Some PNG commentators are forecasting, based on past  behaviour, that = now they know who will rule - many MPs in the minority Alliance will defect to the government benches.

An immediate challenge for authorities will be to control the anger that will be felt by many Papua New Guineans as they learn of this result.

O'Neill's victory is one from which few people will take pleasure - and comes against a backdrop of what many people consider to have been a stolen election in a country mired in division and debt and beset by a range of serious social problems.

Australia's role in this election was less than honourable - from its participation in "assisting" put together a grotesquely flawed electoral roll to its stony silence as atrocities against democracy took place in the conduct of the poll.

PNG Attitude will seek to keep you informed of further developments, especially the vote for prime minister, as they occur.



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John K Kamasua

The reason why we let many things go in this country, sadly, is that, 85% of the people are so busy eking out a miserable living they do not give a fuck about what is happening to their country.

And this gives the politicians a field day.

They now realise power can be bought and democracy can be interpreted to suit one's liking.

Robert Wilson

I have just read an article in Post Courier online about PNG wood found in US stores.

Seems that the Chinese have taken over from Japan in the rape of PNG resources(wood).

What is disgusting is the ease with which foreign countries have been able to move in and corrupt everyone from landowner to politicians in giving up and selling their country out for peanuts.

I do not see this "New" government doing anything about this insidious contamination of outsiders taking control of natural resources and building their stranglehold over business both large and small. They will continue the status quo!

Of course the only people to suffer are the small people whose ability to develop and grow a business has been eroded over the years through the influx of Asian's being able to not only "emigrate" but also buy up land and appear to have open slather to set up shop in any place and anywhere in PNG. That can only happen when a government and their minions have allowed it to happen.

John K Kamasua

Scary and dangerous times for PNG! We really dont know where we are heading next!

Chris Overland

The return of an O'Neill government means that, notwithstanding the incompetence and outright fraud that reduced the electoral process to a grotesque comedy, enough Papua New Guineans were persuaded to elect what amounts to a kleptocracy.

This will ensure that PNG's remorseless slide into poverty and squalor will continue unabated. There are many precedents for this in Africa and elsewhere.

As someone who cares what happens to PNG and its people, it saddens me deeply to think that the place I knew, full of bright promise, should be reduced to this state.

In a wider context, what is happening in PNG is reflective of the slow death of representative democracy across the world.

The evidence for this mounts daily, such as in Turkey, which is falling into the hands of an authoritarian President, many of its people blinded and bedazzled by his nationalist rhetoric. So too is Venezuela, where its hideous President and his cronies are subverting the democratic process to entrench themselves in power.

Even Europe itself is in peril. It is slipping almost without complaint into the control of an unelected European bureaucracy, with the powers of national governments being relentless eroded with each new regulation imposed upon their unwitting citizenry.

Only the much reviled and put upon British seem to have understood the true nature of the European Union which, for all its apparent attractions, calls upon the citizens of member nations to submit to the power of the super bureaucrats now ensconced in Brussels.

Russia's brief and tumultuous democratic awakening has already faltered and it has fallen into the authoritarian abyss, this time ruled by an intelligent, adept, cunning and politically ruthless modern Tsar.

Worst of all, the USA, once the mighty bastion of democracy and defender of freedom across the globe, has fallen into the clutches of all that is worst within itself. A coalition of the mad, the bad and the sad has elected a Mad King as their President.

The USA is suffering a slow and remorseless political death by Tweet. Those of us in other countries have the dubious privilege of watching our formerly great and powerful friend withering into a deformed and lesser version of what once was the world's foremost democracy.

As an historian, it causes me genuine distress to see us collectively once more plodding down the path towards war. For most assuredly, this is always what follows the rise of non-representative and authoritarian regimes. As their manifest failures become increasingly apparent, they turn upon an external enemy in a vain effort to maintain national discipline and unity.

Just think about Kim Jong-In and his increasingly bellicose and erratic behaviour or Putin's annexation of the Crimea and threatening behaviour towards The Ukraine and the Baltic states. What about China and its increasingly belligerent behaviour in the South China Seas.

Eventually, someone, somehow, is going to make a major error in judgement and precipitate a crisis that spirals out of control before the politicians even understand what has happened. This is how Europe managed to blunder into full scale warfare twice in the last century.

Of course, Peter O'Neill and his fellow travellers know or care nothing of all this. Neither does the average Papua New Guinean, who is too busy trying to scrabble a living. But, whether they know it or not, they have just knocked another brick out of the wall that once stood between all of us and eventual disaster.

Of course, I can be dismissed as a grumpy old man who cannot accept the "new reality" of the modern world. If this means that I do not accept rule by mealy mouthed, self serving party apparatchiks or self aggrandising, megalomaniac, posturing fools, then it is a charge I wear as a badge of honour.

Lindsay F Bond

most dire of words that were said to mean...'shall be given a reasonable opportunity'...'to vote for...elective public office at genuine, periodic, free elections' and of words that were said to mean...'all citizens have the same rights, privileges, obligations and duties irrespective of race, tribe, place of origin, political opinion' a weakened
solution once a
constitution of believing being independent and free.

Philip Fitzpatrick

That's the most depressing thing I've heard for a very long time.

Hopefully the Alliance hangs together as an effective opposition and get's the chance to knock him off soon.

Be interesting to see which rats desert the Alliance ship.

William Dunlop

Well, we now know where the expression "Rotten Tomato" A la PNG originated from. And why.

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