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Papua New Guinea

Marape claims PNG victory

James Marape and his Pangu Pati look to have acquired enough seats to form a coalition government in Papua New Guinea, although counting in 35 electorates still continues.

Mr Marape has been given the nod by the Governor General to form government despite calls against it.

This has also put the police on alert as confrontations between various supporters is expected. The national defence forces have been put on alert.

The general elections have been very messy with violence all around and a large numbers of voters missing from the electoral roll.

Only one woman has managed to make her way into parliament after Peoples’ National Congress candidate Rufina Peters won her seat and became governor of the Central Province.

Police controlling crowds in Mendi in PNG. Picture – Royal Police Constabulary

This is a change from no women in the previous parliament. However of the 142 women that contested a seat only one has made it through.

The Commonwealth Observer Group has written a scathing initial report on how they saw the elections and have made several recommendations including increasing the participation of women.

MORE STORIES:
PNG election observer group interim report
Forum condemns PNG election violence

Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai has extended the deadline for the return of writs to next Friday after failing to finish counting last week.

There was hope that the first sitting of the new parliament would happen by August 9 and Mr Marape is hinting at doing just this.

Police Commissioner David Manning talking to some of the Enga Provincial election officials. Picture – Royal PNG Constabulary

While Mr Marape is looking to call the sitting of parliament on Tuesday, former prime minister and Peoples National Congress leader Peter O’Neill has filed an application in court to delay the sitting.

He has already failed in one legal action where he was hoping to delay the return of writs until all counting had finished.

In a press conference Mr Marape said his Pangu Party was preparing to form a coalition government with 15 minor parties in parliament on Tuesday, after Pangu won 30 seats which gave it an overwhelming mandate to form government.

He said this would mean that the Pangu, coalition and independent seats totalled 67.

Mr Marape looks determined to move forward with this.

Governor General of PNG Sir Bob Dadae (seated) and caretaker prime minister James Marape on the left. Picture – Department of the Prime Minister

Police in PNG have started investigations into the elections violence and how ballot boxes had been hijacked and stolen.

Police commissioner David Manning has started getting his police force ready as he expects more violence if the parliament sits.

“There are ongoing investigations into some candidates who are believed to have been inciting their supporters to fight with opponents, and arrests will be made,” Mr Manning said in a statement.

Counting predominantly continues in the southern highlands and police presence has been increased in these areas as well.

Mr Manning has also told candidates in Mendi to control their supporters. He warned election officials not to return writs if counting has not finished.

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