Port Moresby, Aug 9 (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News – Aug 9, 2022): Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape was sworn in for a second term on Tuesday, after an election marred by violence and alleged corruption which also ended a five-year absence of women in parliament.
Marape won the support of a majority of members of the Pacific island nation’s newly elected parliament.
In a high-profile maiden speech to the new parliament, he reiterated his pledge to make Papua New Guinea the “wealthiest black Christian nation in the world” and welcomed the unanimous parliamentary vote that secured its direction.
“We are one, one people, one country, one nation,” Marape said.
“And I just want to appreciate the fact that today parliament came in total unison.” Responding to concerns – raised by Commonwealth election observer teams – over allegations of corruption and missing names on voter rolls, Marape also flagged a review of the ballot.
“We need to reform our electoral processes. It is clear that maintaining the status quo on this is no longer an option.” Among the newly elected members were Rufina Peter and Kessy Sawang, the first confirmed candidates to win a seat in parliament.
Their victories marked a comeback for women in national politics after none won a seat in the previous election in 2017.
It’s a “proud moment”, said Peter O’Neill, leader of the National People’s Congress, of which Rufina Peter is a member.
“Our mothers, daughters and women in PNG and indeed throughout the Pacific region have a true champion, an experienced woman in Parliament,” O’Neill said in a statement.
Voting ended on Friday but counting is still ongoing for some seats in the mountainous, forest-covered country rich in resources but suffering from widespread poverty.