Political parties need to do their job

Editorial

POLITICAL parties in Papua New Guinea are not empowering the people to become members of their organisations.
Political parties have a responsibility to make it their duty to clearly define who they are, their policies, membership and the kind of people who will be representing them in Parliament.
Registrar of Political Parties Dr Alphonse Gelu has been stressing the need for political parties to register and recruit members and inform the people about who they are and their policies.
For the parties, this exercise should start immediately after the election last year and continue to the next one.
The period in between the election is five years and this is plenty of time for the political parties to re-group and re-build for the next election.
Look at the results from last year’s general election, for example.
Some of the 45 political parties failed miserably to make their policies known because they did nothing to promote their platforms when they knew the country’s voting trend.
Political parties have a duty to clearly define who they are, their policies, membership and the kind of people they want to put in Parliament.
That way, voters will not only be better informed but also have a good idea of who is wanting to represent them in Parliament.
Last year’s national election results show that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress (PNC) party won the most seats and the party achieved that because of 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.
People knew about the existing political parties but not about the new ones because most were set up just before the election.
The new parties only had themselves to blame for their dismal performance because they failed to do their homework on the ground.
The relationship between the people and the political parties must be strengthened and this can only be done if the executives play their part by putting in place a programme that will help make them visible to the people.
Researchers say that most people in PNG vote for the candidates they think are mostly likely to help them directly or help their families or help their village.
We cannot deny that the trend of voting for localised benefits will continue.
Village people need to know in simple terms what political parties there are, what they stand for, how many political parties there are in PNG, who the leaders are, how the parties can be contacted, why it is important to join a party, why it is important to consider supporting women candidates, etc.
With that situation, stringent measures should be put in place to bring the number of political parties down to below 20.

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