O’Neill salutes new MPs from Manus

National, Normal

The National,Friday July 13th, 2012

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has congratulated Charlie Benjamin and Ronnie Knight for becoming new members of parliament.Benjamin ran under O’Neill’s People’s National Congress party banner while Knight campaigned under Bart Philemon’s New Generation Party.
Benjamin, a former Manus MP, becomes the new Manus governor.
Knight, a businessman, took the Manus open seat off Job Pomat, a member of O’Neill’s PNC.
O’Neill paid tribute to Pomat for providing a strong and stable leadership for the people of Manus at both provincial and national level.
“I must congratulate Benjamin ad Knight for their election victories,” he said.
Benjamin returned to parliament after a five-year absence after scoring 8,155 votes to beat closest challenger Michael Sapau, a former governor, who got 7,412.
“He is a down-to-earth person who is passionate on many issues, and his return to the national scene shows the Manus people want him leading from the front again,” O’Neill said.
He said it was unfortunate that PNC party deputy leader Pomat lost.
There were 19 exclusions before Knight beat Pomat 7,308 votes to 7,051.
Knight, as a member of the New Generation Party, would be part of the team to form the government again as the two parties were coalition partners, O’Neill said.