Pruaitch joins growing list of PNG’s major election upsets

PNG election defeats
PNG elections ... how the PNG Post-Courier covered the latest defeats today. Image: PNG Post-Courier

By Gorethy Kenneth in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea politics — or for that matter, Parliament — will no longer be the same any more in this country.

The defeats of experienced and long serving MPs Patrick Pruaitch, Davis Steven, John Simon and Dr Allan Marat has completely changed the landscape of politics in PNG.

And similar upsets are expected in coming days as counting proceeds in more than 70 electorates around the country.

Continuity in leadership at the national level in any country is important, and in PNG, it is no different.

This country still requires the presence of a good number of capable individuals in Parliament at any given term of the House who have the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to lead Parliament, or better still, provide that guidance needed by those who govern to ensure proper checks and balance are maintained.

The defeats of the four long-serving MPs reflects the wishes of their people and must be respected. No one will unwind the clock of events that have taken place in this election.

However, the losses suffered so far and the likelihood of other leaders bowing out leaves huge holes in Parliament and in their political parties which will take time to fill.

20 years in Parliament
National Alliance Party leader and a former Treasurer Pruaitch, an economist by profession, lost the Aitape Lumi seat he has held since 2002 — the year another stable and highly respected politician and lawyer, Dr Allan Marat, entered Parliament.

Joining them a decade later were John Simon who took the Maprik Open seat in East Sepik province and Davis Steven who took the Esa-ala seat in Milne Bay province.

Deputy National Alliance party leader Walter Schnaubelt and East Sepik Governor-elect Allan Bird thanked the people of Aitape-Lumi for their support for Pruaitch over the last 20 years.

They advised over the weekend that the party would convene their meeting to address this issue among others and make an announcement later.

The casualty list so far includes Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat, Maprik MP John Simon, Huon-Gulf MP Ross Seymour, ENB Governor Nakikus Konga, Koroba-Kopiago MP Petrus Thomas, Nawaeb MP Kennedy Wenge, and Menyama MP Benjamin Philip.

All lost their seats to first time MPs.

Gorethy Kenneth is a PNG Post-Courier reporter. Republished with permission.

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