FORMER Finance Minister James Marape was elected Papua New Guinea’s 8th prime minister in Parliament yesterday – thumping his contender, former premier Sir Mekere Morauta, by 101 votes to eight.
After prayers at 10.30am, Speaker Job Pomat called the 109 MPs present to nominate their choice for the premiership that was vacated by Peter O’Neill on Wednesday.
Three MPs were nominated – Tari-Pori’s Marape, Ialibu-Pangia’s O’Neill and Moresby North-West’s Sir Mekere.
Pomat closed nominations and O’Neill stood to inform the House: “… I thought the Opposition did not have a candidate … I will withdraw my nomination.”
The voting was by head count and it took about 45 minutes for Pomat to declare Marape as the duly elected prime minister. He then adjourned the session to enable Marape to be sworn-in in the Government House by Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae.
The swearing-in took about 30 minutes and Marape rushed back to Parliament to deliver his 20-minute maiden premier speech.
Pomat then opened the debate to the floor and MPs were invited to deliver their congratulatory speeches that were peppered with proposals and government policies that needed Marape’s swift attention.
Pomat then adjourned Parliament session to June 25.
As Marape walked out of the House, MPs took the opportunity to shake hands and to hug the new premier.
The Government team, including Marape’s group, arrived in six buses at around 9.50am and entered the chamber from the ground floor of the Prime Minister’s entry.
The Opposition arrived at 9.30am.
Peter O’Neill took his chair at 9.39 am while Marape sat next to Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel.
At 10.38, Speaker Job Pomat entered and asked Mul Baiyer MP Koi Traipe to lead them in a prayer.
At 10.45am, the Speaker asked for nominations.
Madang MP Bryan Kramer abstained from voting.
Source: The National PNG