James Marape elected Papua New Guinea PM

Vastavam web: Papua New Guinea lawmakers overwhelmingly elected James Marape as prime minister on Thursday — a former finance minister who resigned in protest against a massive ExxonMobil and Total gas project. Marape won the landslide backing of members of parliament after weeks of political manoeuvring that saw eight-year prime minister Peter O’Neill resign.

“Honourable members, I now declare that the member for Tari Pori James Marape has been elected as prime minister-elect of the independent state of Papua New Guinea,” said parliament speaker Job Pomat, announcing Marape’s 101-8 victory.

In a Facebook post early on Thursday Marape vowed to make Papua New Guinea “the ‘richest black Christian nation’ on earth” and to put the “national interest ahead of personal and corporate interest.” His victory is likely to spell continuity in many fields, but it could bring changes to energy policy and relations with neighbouring Australia. One of Asia’s most impoverished nations, Papua New Guinea is rich in natural resources, including large gas fields.