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Major reform in PNG: challenging but interesting

By Jeffrey Wall - posted Friday, 24 March 2023

The largest majority in parliament in PNGs history has emboldened Prime Minister James Marape to propose quite radical political reform. So far it has not gone beyond being a proposal but there is every chance the PM will advance it.

He is to appoint 6 extra ministers. That is not radical but designed to further strengthen a huge majority.

I would expect two or three will be offered to the depleted opposition.


But his other proposal is radical. It will be interesting to see how members of parliament respond to it,

At present the Prime Minister is elected by the Parliament. Only parliament can remove him.

It would seem the process is frustrating James Marape.

He has raised the possibility of the Prime Minister being elected by a vote of all citizens.

Members of parliament will be watching developments closely. If approved members would have significantly reduced influence.

Were the proposal to advance it would require several parliament approval votes with a high threshold to pass - at least 75 per cent.


In a nation of twelve million plus people only a highlander would be likely to be elected. With over 40 per cent of the population being highlanders it would be difficult for Papuans or Islanders or people from Momase to be elected. Difficult provided the Highlands vote was united. That will be a challenge!

There will have to be a preselection process. Last year around 5000 candidates stood in the national elections.

Perhaps the parliament will have to choose a panel of candidates?

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About the Author

Jeffrey Wall CSM CBE is a Brisbane Political Consultant and has served as Advisor to the PNG Foreign Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu – Prime Minister 1988-1992 and Speaker 1994-1997.

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