Vastavam web: Peter O’Neill was sworn in today for another five-year term as Papua New Guinea’s prime minister following a volatile and drawn-out election marred by violence and allegations of vote-buying. A coalition led by O’Neill’s People’s National Congress secured 60 seats in the 111-seat parliament, local reports said, with five still to be counted. No single party has ever won a majority and alliances are common in PNG politics. “We will be a government that listens more, talks less and works harder at every opportunity.”
Two weeks of polling across the vast and remote country ended on July 8, but not without controversy. Polling was delayed for several days in the capital Port Moresby after officials went on strike over unpaid allowances. One of O’Neill’s main opponents, Don Polye’s Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party, reportedly accused leaders of one constituency of “deliberately and openly rigging the election”. The new government will face challenges including an economy hurt by slumping commodity prices, widespread allegations of corruption and communal violence among a vast tribal population.