PNG General Election 2012 – A Milestone Election
PNG’s 2012 General Election due to be held in June, our seventh since we gained independence, will be the single most important election in the country’s history.
This election will be important because of two key reasons 1) the crucial yet fragile period of time in our development as a nation-state which we currently find ourselves in; and 2) the participation and influence of Papua New Guineans before, during and after the election through social media networks.
PNG’s Most Important Election
PNG is on the cusp of something great. The country has recorded nine consecutive years of real economic growth with projections that it will follow China this year and break the low double digit threshold for the first time. Good governance in banking and finance has also led to the IMF reporting that PNG’s total financial sector assets have increased from K9.5 billion, or AU$3 billion, in 2005 to K26 billion, or AU$10 billion five years later.
PNG’s vast natural resources have attracted an unprecedented influx of foreign investment. A wide range of mining, oil and gas interests are now operating within the country. The crown jewel among these is the PNG LNG Project which is expected to boost PNG’s GDP by 15% – 20% per annum, and at US$15 billion, is the single largest investment in the Pacific.
In addition to these projects, the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund which the PNG government anticipates will initially manage an astonishing US$30 billion means that economically, PNG is entering the single most dynamic period in our 36 years.
These extraordinary economic developments are dependent on a stable, functional and progressive political environment in order to fully deliver their true potential in the long-term. The next government and Prime Minister of PNG will be responsible for transforming these investments into tangible benefits for the people of PNG, and quite bluntly, will be responsible for taking PNG into a new stage of development and prosperity which will be expected.
The Social Media Election
The second reason why Election 2012 will be a milestone election for PNG is because of the involvement of PNG’s burgeoning social media.
This will be the first election in the country’s history where social media will play a role, and judging from how social media has helped report on and shape events in PNG since August 2011, i.e. O’Neill-Somare Gate, this interaction will only increase in magnitude and importance.
PNG blogs, Facebook accounts and Twitter feeds will be monitoring daily the developments of Election 2012, providing ‘as-it-happens’ reports. This will provide an almost live update of events and developing stories from all parts of PNG to mainstream media and the world.
With the addition of the significant growth achieved in PNG’s telecommunication sector, which the World Bank estimates grew mobile phone subscriptions by two million in 2010, politicians and political parties and their policies, campaigns, dealings and events will be under both domestic and international scrutiny like never before in the history of PNG.
And it won’t just be the every day Papua New Guinean using social media during the general election. PNG’s political parties are also breaking into new territory by planning on how best to use social media to their advantage.
The PNG Party, founded by former Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta in 2007, and now headed by the current Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah, is leading the pack by being the first PNG political party to have a Facebook page, and a Twitter feed, while a website is planned to be soon launched.
Social media can only be good for PNG and Election 2012, ensuring that information is shared in a timely and efficient manner to all citizens. Gone are the days where only the rich or politically well-connected could influence or play key roles in the election.
There will be a new kid on the block right in the middle of the action in PNG’s milestone election.
~ by Tavurvur on March 9, 2012.