Asia-Pacific

No women MPs to sit in PNG's new parliament

Fmr PNG MP Delilah Gore Source: Supplied

Not one of Papua New Guinea’s 111 MPs will be female when the 10th parliament sits next month despite a record number of women candidates standing in the country’s chaotic general election.

One-term MP and Minister for Religion, Youth and Community Development Delilah Gore was the last woman in serious contention for a seat but has lost to independent Henry Amuli by just over 200 votes.

PNG has never had more than three women MPs in parliament since the first post-independence election in 1977.

A record 167 women stood in this year’s general election against over 3,000 male candidates.

Ms Gore represented the Sohe Open electorate and was the last of three incumbent female MPs still with a chance of securing a seat.

All three were elected in 2012 for the opposition Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) party but Ms Gore defected to prime minister Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress (PNC) party along with Eastern Highlands governor Julie Soso.

The third female MP to lose her seat was Loujaya Kouza in the Lae Open electorate.

Ms Gore in March launched a national strategy to eliminate gender-based violence by 2025 and campaigned for women’s rights but opposed legislated female candidate quotas for political parties.

"Women should demonstrate true leadership before they are mandated by the people," she said in 2015.

She became best known for shouting at an Air Nuigini flight attendant, “Do you know who I am?”, and threatening to have her sacked when caught using her mobile phone on a plane also in 2015.

A tribunal found her guilty of official misconduct and she be suspended from parliament for three months.

Elections in PNG usually result in 50 per cent turnover of MPs.

A number of high profile ministers from incumbent prime minister Peter O’Neill’s government have lost their seats and opposition leader Don Polye from THE party is struggling to retain his seat.

After three weeks of counting writs were due to be returned to the Governor General on Monday but that deadline has been extended to Friday.

Parliament is due to sit again next month for the formation of government.

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