By JEFFREY ELAPA
PRIME Minister James Marape, elected Pangu Party leader by its parliamentary caucus yesterday, promises to continue making “hard calls and hard decisions” to move the nation forward.
He took over from Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu who had been acting as interim party leader since the political upheaval early this year.
The party has 25 members, including Southern Highland Governor William Powi and Imbonggu MP Pila Niningi, who remain listed as “undecided” by the Registrar of Political Parties and Candidates, although they had submitted their “forms”.
The change in party leadership was announced at the Prime Minister’s office in Parliament.
Marape will lead the party into the 2022 national election. He thanked the party members for electing him party leader and thanked Saonu for holding the reins through the period of political upheaval.
He acknowledged former party leaders such as Sir Michael Somare and Sir Rabbie Namaliu, both of whom became prime ministers, Sam Basil and Saonu.
“We intend to present the country in a better shape than what we’ve inherited in 2019 – better shape in economy, better shape in social service indicators and to create a solid path going into the future,” he said.
“We are prepared to make hard calls and hard decisions.
“And you will see Pangu party’s signature on how we deal with the Wafi Golpu project, oil and gas reforms in the P’ynang project, few mining in Porgera, in the forestry and fisheries sector.
“We’ll find the right balance without harming our investors so our country gain prosperity and sail on a path to economic independence.”
Marape said the party had been rebranded and hoped to rejuvenate party support around the country.
He said Pangu “is rich” with 52 years of political history in which it gave political independence to the country through Sir Michael in 1975.
Pangu will also give economic independence to the country under its leadership.
He reiterated the aim “to take back PNG and making it a rich black nation, leaving no child behind in education, health or business”.
Marape said it was part of Pangu’s leadership rebranding to give security and achieve results.
The party is expected to hold its national convention in December to endorse its policies.
He has already announced some policies such as the tertiary student’s loan scheme and the assistance to PNG businesses.
By JEFFREY ELAPA