Peter O’Neill wins Ialibu-Pangia before Polling commences in 3 PNG Provinces
Incumbent Prime Minister and Member for Ialibu-Pangia, Peter O’Neill, has comprehensively retaken his seat with a landslide victory in PNG Election 2012.
The overwhelming support for Peter O’Neill in his home electorate has been amplified by the fact that he is the first Southern Highlander to ever win on primary votes, where under Limited Preferential Voting, can only be achieved if a candidate secures 50% + 1 of the absolute number of votes in an electorate.
O’Neill also becomes only the second Papua New Guinean after Don Polye (Kandep Open – 2007) to ever win a seat in a National Election on primary votes.
At the last count, Peter O’Neill had secured 15,585 votes – roughly 67% of all votes cast. With counting still underway, it is expected that O’Neill could win as much as 80% of all possible votes in Ialibu-Pangia.
This is a remarkable achievement in the PNG context.
As noted previously on The Garamut, the winning of the seat will play an important role in the dynamics of People’s National Congress by guaranteeing the party’s leader a seat in parliament, and the weight this carries when influencing successful Independents post-election.
(@masalaifrog) July 01, 2012
Already, sitting MPs and contesting candidates from around the country have cried foul over the early counting of votes in Southern Highlands Province citing an unfair advantage in terms of influencing elector attitudes to voting – most notably People’s Labour Party leader Peter Yama and suspended Angoram MP Arthur Somare.
This is particularly pertinent, as polling has yet to commence in 3 of PNG’s 22 provinces: Jiwaka, Eastern Highlands and Chimbu.
Arthur Somare has even threatened to bring the issue to the courts if not addressed immediately:
“I call on the EC to stop that process immediately until all other provinces end their polling schedules and programs. It needs to be done now! If not, I will take it to the courts to stop the process.”
Although it is clear that Peter O’Neill has comprehensively won Ialibu-Pangia Open, it is unclear as to whether or not the PNG Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen will officially declare him winner until after polling ends in all of PNG’s provinces.
Despite the delay in the official announcement of Peter O’Neill as winner, the political capital gained from the overwhelming result and its propagation over the coconut-wireless, particularly through the Highlands region, will be a substantial boost to Peter O’Neill and People’s National Congress in returning to government.