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Is China interfering in the PNG national elections?

By Jeffrey Wall - posted Friday, 29 July 2022


I had been hoping to give readers this week some indication of the likely outcome of the PNG National Elections.....or at least who might be contenders for Prime Minister.

Notwithstanding the fact that counting has been happening for close to three weeks, no one is any the wiser than they may have been a week ago as to the likely outcome.

The official election statistics on the website of the PNG Electoral Commission really tells the sad truth about these elections. They are a disaster, and run the serious risk of causing great damage to parliamentary democracy and good government in our closest neighbour.

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So far counting in just 13 of the 118 electorates has been completed. No less than 72 electorates are still counting first preferences! In nine seats counting has not even started.

The polls are supposed to be declared in a couple of days. That has now been pushed out to August 12. Don't be surprised if it is not extended even further!

The brutality continues, most recently in the capital of Port Moresby. In several highlands provinces counting has stopped because of criminal attacks, destruction of property, and threats against polling officials.

I predict that court challenges - when counting finally concludes - will be a record. That will just add to instability and uncertainty, but it is unavoidable.

Inevitably the question is being asked - is there outside interference in the elections, most notably from Chinese sources?

My own strong view is that China is not responsible for the debacle during the election campaign, or the counting.

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Sadly this is home grown in every sense, reflecting the breakdown in law and order and respect for leaders in recent years. The Prime Minister, James Marape, has sought to blame continuing tribal fighting. That is a minority factor confined to a couple of highlands provinces.

I see no evidence of Chinese or other foreign interference.

The irony in that is that China will be the most likely beneficiary in any serious erosion of parliamentary democracy and a continued decline in law and order. China loses when democracy triumphs. It's as simple as that!

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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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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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