PNG Woman Storms to Lead in Sohe Open
Since PNG’s first National Election in 1977, only four women have ever made it into the Haus Tambaran.
Interestingly, in the first elections in 1977 ten female candidates ran for office, and three - Hon Nahau Rooney, Hon Waliyato Clowes and Dame Josephine Abaijah – were elected.
As of 2012, there have never been as many women in our Parliament as during the 1977-1982 legislature.
With the retirement of PNG’s longest serving female MP, Dame Carol Kidu – she officially is no longer a Member of Parliament when the writs are returned – the chances for female representation in our parliament are slim.
But there are rays of hope, most notably the record number of women candidates who are standing in these elections – 134 in total; and also the expectation that several women will perform reasonably well.
However, performing reasonably well isn’t the same as winning a seat – and for women voices to be even taken seriously in PNG, female representation in parliament is a necessity.
Which is why Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party candidate Delilah Gore’s current lead in Northern Province’s Sohe Open is not only a welcome surprise (she’s the only woman in the lead of all 111 electorates), but is in itself an accomplishment worth taking note of.
After Count 23, the former Ijivitari District Treasurer was leading 54 candidates with 2814 votes. She is followed by Independents Henry Amuli on 1702 votes, Norman Sorari on 1473 votes, George Uware on 1436 votes and and People’s Progress Party candidate and Papua New Guinea’s first Professor, John Waiko, on 1171 votes.
Incumbent and People’s National Congress-cum-Independent Anthony Nene is well behind on 1099 votes.
With Sohe Open most certainly to be decided on second and third preference votes, Gore is well placed to have a serious shot at becoming the next Member for Sohe Open.
Ironically, the reality that she is just one of a cohort of 55 which is predominantly male, may just play in her favor when elimination begins and if she maintains her lead, as numbers of votes are evenly split across the other 54.
Our 9th Parliament desperately needs female representation, and Delilah Gore may just be Northern Province’s first and Papua New Guinea’s fifth ever woman MP.
I do hope this is the case.