Papua New Guinea

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Papua New Guinea is the largest country in the Pacific, with a population of almost 7 million people. It is a geographically and ethnically diverse society, which famously boasts the largest number of languages in the world. PNG has a multi-tiered system of governance, with a national parliament, provincial assemblies and district councils, as well as a legislature for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

National Parliament

Papua New Guinea has a national Parliament with 111 members. Since Independence in 1975, only seven women have ever been elected to PNG’s National Parliament. Interestingly, immediately after Independence, in the first elections in 1977, ten women candidates ran for office, and three - Hon Nahau Rooney, Hon Waliyato Clowes and Dame Josephine Abaijah - were elected. As of 2012, there have never been as many women in the Papua New Guinean Parliament as during the 1977-1982 legislature.

The failure to make any progress in improving women’s representation in the National Parliament over the number years has reinforced calls for the introduction of some form of temporary special measure. In December 2011, the Equality and Participation Act was passed to introduce 22 reserved seats for women in the National Parliament – one seat per province, plus one for the National Capital District. In order for the Act to be implemented, a constitutional amendment was also necessary, but the Bill to amend the Constitution failed to attract the necessary number of votes in early 2012. As such, reserved seats for women were not introduced at the 2012 elections.

Papua New Guinea held their national elections on 23 June 2012. In advance of the elections, development partners undertook a number of initiatives to support women candidates. The Centre for Democratic Institutions, in partnership with the PNG Office for the Development of Women (ODW), with support from UNDP, ran Women’s Candidates Trainings for PNG women. UNDP and the PNG ODW also ran the first-ever Practice Parliament for PNG Women from 17-20 April 2012. Watch some of PNG's Women Candidates engaged with important policy issues during Question Time in the April 26 Practice Parliament in Port Moresby. The PacWIP website was also used to showcase women candidates in the 2012 PNG National Elections, who are committed to human rights, promoting gender equality and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Three women were eventually elected to the 2012 Parliament - Hon Loujaya Toni (Lae Open), Hon Delilah Gore (Sohe Open) and Hon Julie Soso (Eastern Highlands Regional).

In 2017, UNDP ran a second Practice Parliament for PNG Women from 7-13 March 2017, in collaboration with Office of Integrity of Political Parties, the National Parliament and Department of Community Development and Religionwith Office of Integrity of Political Parties, the National Parliament and Department of Community Development and Religion. The Practice Parliament brought together 45 women from around the country. For the first time it was held in the National Parliamentary Precinct in the State Room. 

Autonomous Region of Bougainville

In the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB), following the end of the twenty year conflict, a new constitution and electoral system were devised for the newly autonomous region in 2002. The Constitution will guide the region for ten years, after which a referendum will be held for the region to decide on its own long-term future. After much consideration, it was decided that three seats in the new legislature would be reserved for women (and three seats would also be reserved for ex-combatants). It was further decided that the seats would be elected directly by the people. Both women and men are allowed to vote for all seats.

Bougainville has 33 constituencies to elect ordinary members. The province is also divided into 3 bigger constituencies – North, Central and South – and these are used for the 3 seats reserved for women and ex-combatants. Each voter casts 3 votes for representatives in the Legislative Assembly – one for their local MP, one for the reserved woman’s seat and one for the reserved ex-combatant’s seat.

Provincial Assemblies

Following the passage of legislation in 2011, at the sub-national level, PNG now has 21 provinces, plus the National Capital District. Under the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections 1997, every province is to have a Provincial Government and a provincial legislature, known as the Provincial Assembly. The memebrship of each Provincial Assembly comprises all Members of the National Parliament from electorates in the province. Under s.10(d), where the chieftaincy system is in existence and is accepted in a province, the Minister responsible for provincial government can appoint bewteen 3-4 paramout chiefs to sit in the Provincial Assembly.

Under s.10(e) of the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections 1997, the Provincial Assembly shall also include "one woman representative nominated in accordance with an Act of the Parliament and appointed by the Provincial Executive Council".  

Past National Women Candidate

Current National Women MPs
Past National Women MPs
Daphne Togale Kapao
Party: Melanesian Alliance
Electorate: Tewai Siassi
Province: Morobe
Political Status: N/A

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Dorothy Tekwe
Party: PNG Green Party
Electorate:
Province:
Political Status: N/A

Ellie Nari Waka
Party: Independent
Electorate: Southern Highlands Province Regional
Province: Southern Highland
Political Status: N/A

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Gilam Michael
Party: Country Party
Electorate: Nawaeb
Province: Morobe
Political Status: N/A

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Grace Painale Nari
Party: Independent
Electorate: Women's Electorate for Enga
Province: Enga
Political Status: N/A

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Janet Nisa
Party: Independent
Electorate: Mendi / Munhiu
Province: Southern Highland
Political Status: N/A

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Janet Sape
Party:
Electorate:
Province:
Political Status: N/A

Jennifer U. Mondia
Party: Independant
Electorate: Goroka
Province: Eastern Highland
Political Status: N/A

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Josephine Toure Mandwe
Party: Independent
Electorate: Usino/Bundi
Province: Madang
Political Status: N/A

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Judy Van der Vlist
Party: Independent
Electorate: Regional Seat
Province: Jiwaka WHP
Political Status: N/A

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Julie Timothy
Party: Independent
Electorate: Usino LLG
Province: Madang
Political Status: N/A

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Laeko M. Bala
Party: PNG Labour Party
Electorate: Central Provincial Regional Seat - Governors seat
Province: Central
Political Status: N/A

Linda Tule
Party:
Electorate:
Province: NCD
Political Status: N/A

Margaret Loko
Party: National Alliance
Electorate: National Capital District (NCD)
Province: National Capital District
Political Status: N/A

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Maria Kale
Party: League for Democracy
Electorate: Suai Sina-Sina Kamtai District
Province: Simbu Kundiawa
Political Status: N/A

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Miong Kila
Party: Independent
Electorate: Huon Guld District
Province: Morobe
Political Status: N/A

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Mittie Katu Bradford
Party:
Electorate: Huon Gulf (Salamaua Local level Government)
Province: Morobe
Political Status: N/A

Oini Kevari
Party: Independent
Electorate: Kikori
Province: Gulf
Political Status: N/A

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Ori Bessie Posu
Party: PNG Greens Party
Electorate: Markham District
Province: Morobe
Political Status: N/A

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Orpah Tamean
Party: Independent
Electorate: Women's Reserved Seats (not this election period)
Province: Simbu
Political Status: N/A

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Rachael Silas
Party: Independent
Electorate: Manus Regional
Province: Manus
Political Status: N/A

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Regina Sophie Kambe
Party: Independent
Electorate: Sumkar
Province: Madang
Political Status: N/A

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Rita Mok Salangia
Party: Independent
Electorate: Usinu Bundi
Province: Madang
Political Status: N/A

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Rubbie T. Kamung
Party: Independent
Electorate: Morobe Regional
Province: Morobe
Political Status: N/A

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Ruth Francis
Party: Independent
Electorate: Manus
Province: Manus
Political Status: N/A

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Salasa Moses
Party: TBC
Electorate: Obura Wanenara
Province: Eastern Highlands
Political Status: N/A

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Sarisari Bazi Apelis
Party: League for Democracy
Electorate: Western HIghland Regional
Province: Western Highland
Political Status: N/A

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Theresa Jaintong
Party: Independent
Electorate: Centre Bougainville
Province: Autonomous Region of Bougainville
Political Status: N/A

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Antonia Maiyau Ganim
Party: Independent
Electorate: Wewak
Province: East Sepik
Political Status: N/A

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Lucy Tabagua
Party: T.H.E Triumph Heritage Empowerment
Electorate: Hela Regional Seat
Province: Hela
Political Status: N/A

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Kem Hesingut
Party: Independent
Electorate: Finschhafen
Province: Morobe
Political Status: N/A

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Maureen Duwang Bakaia
Party: Independent
Electorate: Sohe
Province: Northern
Political Status: N/A

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Lespina Wes
Party: People's Party
Electorate: Vanimo Green
Province: Sandaun
Political Status: N/A

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Sophie Mangai
Party: Independent
Electorate: East Sepik Regional
Province: East Sepik
Political Status: N/A

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Martha Kaiun
Party: Independent
Electorate: Simbu Regional
Province: Simbu
Political Status: N/A

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Cecilia Dre Kimagl
Party: Independent
Electorate: Gena/Waugla
Province: Chimbu
Political Status: N/A

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Michelle Tony
Party: Independent
Electorate: Central Gazette
Province: East New Britain
Political Status: N/A

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Balim Sumanop
Party: Independent
Electorate: Madang Regional
Province: Madang
Political Status: N/A

Margreth Apakua
Party: PNG Greens party
Electorate: Wosera/Gawi
Province: East Sepik
Political Status: N/A

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Martha Sam Kare
Party: Independent
Electorate: Nawaeb
Province: Morobe
Political Status: N/A

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Rita Mala Saulei
Party: Independent
Electorate: Tewai Siassi
Province: Lae, Morobe
Political Status: N/A

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Jacoberth John
Party: Independent
Electorate: Moresby South Electorate
Province: National Capital District
Political Status: N/A

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Maria Ibai Hayes
Party: Independent
Electorate: National Capital District (NCD)
Province: National Capital District
Political Status: N/A

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Delilah Keleino Kelly
Party: Star Alliance
Electorate: Tewae Siassi
Province: Morobe
Political Status: N/A

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Jennifer Baing
Party:
Electorate: Markham Open
Province: Morobe
Political Status: N/A

Matilda Koma
Party: Indigenous People's Party
Electorate: Goilala
Province: Central
Political Status:

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Angela Mandie-Filer
Party: Independent
Electorate: Port Moresby North East
Province: National Capital District
Political Status:

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Effo Tannis Mare
Party: Independent
Electorate: Finschhafen
Province: Morobe
Political Status:

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Caroline Abani
Party: Independent
Electorate: Alotau
Province: Milne Bay
Political Status:

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Current Sub-National Women

Past Sub-National Women
Past Sub-National Women Candidate
Hon. Francesca Rianna Semoso OBE
Party: People's Party
Electorate: North Bougainville region
Province: Autonomous Region of Bougainville
Political Status: Deputy Speaker, ARB Parliament

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Hon Marcelline Kokiai
Party: Independent
Electorate: Central Bougainville
Province: Autonomous Region of Bougainville
Political Status:

Hon Isabel Peta
Party: Independent
Electorate: South Bougainville
Province: Autonomous Region of Bougainville
Political Status:

Hon Josephine Getsi
Party: Independent
Electorate: Peit Open
Province: Autonomous Region of Bougainville
Political Status:

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