The National, Wednesday July 18th, 2012
CARETAKER Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress party is ahead with five members of parliament elected and officially declared so far.However, the highlight of yesterday’s election results came from the New Guinea Islands where New Ireland is now run by the People’s Progress Party.Yesterday’s declarations saw PPP leader Sir Julius Chan and his son Byron retaining their New Ireland provincial and Namatanai open seats respectively and former MP and PPP strongman Ben Micah returning to the political arena with his win in the Kavieng open electorate race.
New Ireland has only three seats and they have all been taken up by PPP candidates.
PPP is also running second to PNC following the declaration of Ezekiel Sigii Anisi who toppled Tony Aimo to win the Ambunti-Dreikikir seat in East Sepik.Anisi’s dad Alex (deceased) was the national president of PPP at the time of his death.In third place yesterday was Don Polye’s Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party and the National Alliance with three declared candidates each. While Polye had been declared, NA leader Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare is comfortably leading the East Sepik regional race.NA strongman and Aitape-Lumi MP Patrick Pruaitch was the first for the party to be declared last week.PNG Party, People’s United Assembly, Melanesian Liberal Party, United Resources Party and United Party each have one member declared. They are Sam Basil (PNG Party), PUA’s Paul Tiensten, Dr Allan Marat of the Melanesian Liberal Party, URP’s Steven Pirika Kamma and Ronnie Knight (New Generation).
According to statistics supplied by The National’s reporters on the ground and those posted on the PNG Electoral Commission website, PNC also has 19 candidates leading the race in their respective electorates.
It is followed by T.H.E Party with 12 candidates, the independents on nine, PNG Party six including its leader Belden Namah, National Alliance, URP and People’s Party with four, Social Democratic Party three, and Sir Puka Temu’s Our Development Party, Paias Wingti’s People’s Democratic Movement and the Coalition for Reform Party following with two candidates each leading in their respective electorates.
Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru, who is contesting the Hela provincial seat, is the only People’s United Assembly candidate leading the race for his party at the moment following the declaration of Tiensten in Pomio, East New Britain province. Other political parties that have only one candidate leading their respective electorates are PPP, Bart Philemon’s New Generation Party, former chief taxman Gary Juffa of the People’s Movement for Change Party and PNG Labour Party’s Dr Bob Danaya.
The rest were yet to register a figure on the elections tally sheets.