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Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

Papua New Guinea’s incumbent leader, James Marape, has been returned to the top job as the country’s ninth prime minister, reports the ABC’s Port Moresby correspondent Natalie Whiting.

“Marape was voted in as prime minister unopposed, with unanimous support from all MPs present in the first parliamentary sitting following the country’s controversial, and at times violent, national election,” she reported today.

Both the NBC state broadcaster and the independent news website Inside PNG reported live streams of today’s election and the swearing in.

Pangu Pati’s Marape is expected to be leading at least 17 parties in a coalition government.

The Prime Minister ousted his predecessor Peter O’Neill after a controversial walkout in Parliament three years ago, and has survived attempts to unseat him.

The PNG Post-Courier’s Miriam Zarriga reported today that Pangu, the party that had led PNG to independence in 1975, had been formally invited to form government in Parliament.

The invitation by the Governor-General, Sir Bob Dadae, as prescribed in the Constitution, was issued at 10.20am yesterday.

Pangu Pati invited
Sir Bob said in his address: “I have been advised to invite Pangu Pati to form the next government.

“It is an honour to formally announce this message.

Pangu's Prime Minister James Marape
Pangu’s Prime Minister James Marape in Parliament today … re-elected to the top post. Image: NBC TV live stream screen shot

“By virtuous [sic] of the powers conveyed by Section 63 of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates of Papua New Guinea and all other powers, acting in and in accordance with the advice of the Electoral Commissioner, hereby invite Pangu Party incorporated which has endorsed the greatest number of candidates elected in the 2022 National Elections to form the Government.”

As the formal invitation had been handed over to Pangu, the next step was to ensure that the party had the numbers in the 111-seat Parliament — with counting still going on in 13 seats — and the nominee for prime minister was ready today.

The Pangu-led coalition last week announced James Marape as their nominee with 15 parties signing an MOU to work with Pangu to form government.

Many commentators have described the election as the “worst in living memory” — and the most violent.

Two women have been elected to Parliament for the first time in a decade, Central province Governor Rufina Peter and Rai Coast MP Kessy Sawang.

Pangu's James Marape
Pangu’s James Marape … sworn in as PNG’s ninth prime minister. Image: Inside PNG screenshot
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