People need to know more about parties

Editorial

IT’S been two years after results of the 2017 national election came out with the current Members of Parliaments.
There were the 45 political parties which contested the 2017 general election.
How many will take to the polls in the next election will only be known come 2022?
In the last election, most of the 45 failed to make their policies known when they literally did nothing in terms of publicity of their platforms knowing full well the voting trend.
No one said it would be a walk in the park for these political parties against the “bigger boys”.
To be fair to voters, political parties have a duty to clearly define who they are, their policies, membership and the kind of people who will be representing them in Parliament.
Rather than wait till the eve of the election, voters must not only be better informed but also have a good idea of who should be representing them in Parliament.
So how do we expect people to know about these political parties, if one thought, just one mentioned of the party was enough?
Registrar of Political Parties Dr Alphonse Gelu now said most of the 45 political parties which contested the 2017 general election failed miserably.
Only a handful stood out, and the People’s National Congress (PNC) appeared to have fared the best, with its effective use of the media.
National Alliance also stood out, as did Pangu Pati, the PNG National Party and the People’s Movement for Change.
From observations, we noted that people only knew about the existing political parties but not the new ones because most were set up just before the election.
It was the big political parties, those that had adequate resources and that are known because they were in government or parliament who took advantage and the results are now at hand – PNC, Pangu, National Alliance and Melanesian Liberal Party.
Progressive counting showed they had a head start on the smaller political parties.
And these new parties have only themselves to blame for that because they have failed to do their homework and out in enough on the groundwork.
Dr Gelu cited the case of remote Kiriwina in Milne Bay, which he visited, where there were no signs of any party apart from PNC.
There were calls for the number of political parties to be brought down to 20 and that now looks to be what the registry will be doing – streamlining the number of political parties that PNG currently has.
From the trend so far, voting for localised or personalised benefits rather than party policies is a challenge when it comes to rounding up candidates to form the Government that can contribute to political stability when you have independent candidates declared winners.
Going forward, stringent measures should be put in place to bring the number of political parties down to below 20.
And it is time to get those policies out for public consumption.
Too many political parties lead to further compartmentalisation of the voters, a hindrance to national unity.

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