Asia-Pacific

James Marape elected as PNG's new PM

Jame Marape elected as 8th PNG prime minister. Source: EMTV

Papua New Guinea's parliament has elected former finance minister James Marape as the country's new prime minister.

James Marape has been elected the eighth prime minister of Papua New Guinea after Peter O’Neill resigned yesterday ahead of an opposition vote of no confidence.

The new PM led the mass defections from Mr O’Neill’s government six weeks ago by resigning as finance minister, saying they had irreconcilable differences over economic policy and the signing of a major new LNG deal.   

Weeks of turmoil followed that saw the opposition numbers swell to 67 of the 111 seats in parliament.

When it came to the vote, only eight MPs voted for the opposition candidate and another former PM Mekere Morauta in a big turn around from yesterday when the government had lost the numbers in parliament.

Mr Marape had been considered the frontrunner for the top job.

One-hundred-and-one MPs voted for Mr Marape, with two abstaining.

“The vote that was conferred to me is beyond words, I am truly blessed, we have almost 90 per cent of elected Papuan New Guineas casting their vote in response to the nomination I received,” Mr Marape said after being sworn in by the governor-general.

“The mandate I received today across both sides of the house is a testament to the views held by many leaders of our country that there is a need to work in unity transcending political, cultural and religious boundaries, all driven by the common need that this country deserves better from the resources it is blessed with.

“This is about transition of power from the past, to myself and possibly to young leaders coming up to take the country to the next phase.”

The former finance minister said he would only serve a short time before quitting politics.

“I don’t have all the answers for this nation, that is something I can tell the nation, I am just one man but I’ll try my best,” Mr Marape said.

“We are still struggling to economically free ourselves, our children are burdened by want of self-sustainability

“What I start today you mark my words, I won’t be in 10 years, I possibly won’t be prime minister in five years, because I intend to get out of public office very soon but when I get out I will, with the young leaders, have set the direction our country will travel.”

“I will try my best to mobilise the talents of the young leaders.”

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