Papua New Guinea’s national elections close today. The ruling People’s National Congress (PNC), represented by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, hopes to maintain its parliamentary plurality.
Given that that PNG does no opinion polling, no party entered the election with a perceived advantage. It’s also unlikely that any party will win an electoral majority, which has never happened in the 40 years since independence from Australia. This opens the door for potentially lengthy and messy coalition talks.
Since voting started on June 24, reports have emerged of opposition voters being omitted from voter rolls. Similarly, logistical difficulties have plagued the election, with ballot boxes arriving late to a number of Papua New Guinea’s 20 provincial districts, some of which are located in mountainous, isolated regions.
Members of the National Alliance have blamed Australia, which played a prominent role in the maintenance of electoral rolls and the distribution of ballot boxes, in trying to sway the election in favour of the current government.
Election results are expected at the end of July.
Max is Foreign Brief's Chief Executive Officer. A Latin America specialist, Max is an expert in regional political and economic trends, focusing particularly on the Southern Cone.