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 womenUNDP 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. PNG held its latest elections in June 2017 for two weeks, from 24th June till 8th July 2017. 165 women candidates stood in the 2017 elections out of a total of 3,324 national candidates. After the tallying of the votes, unfortunately no women candidates were voted into the national Parliament.

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”.

Angela Mandie-Filer

Party: Independent

Electorate: Port Moresby North East

Province: National Capital District

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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Balim Sumanop

Party: Independent

Electorate: Madang Regional

Province: Madang

Political Status: N/A

Caroline Abani

Party: Independent

Electorate: Alotau

Province: Milne Bay

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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Daphne Togale Kapao

Party: Melanesian Alliance

Electorate: Tewai Siassi

Province: Morobe

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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Dorothy Tekwe

Party: PNG Green Party

Electorate: N/A

Province: N/A

Political Status: N/A

Effo Tannis Mare

Party: Independent

Electorate: Finschhafen

Province: Morobe

Political Status: N/A

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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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Hon Delilah Gore

Party: Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party

Electorate: Sohe Open

Province: Oro

Political Status: N/A

Hon Julie Soso Akeke

Party: Triumph Heritage Empowerment (THE) Party

Electorate: Eastern Highlands Provincial

Province: Eastern Highlands

Political Status: First ever elected Governor of Eastern Highlands

Hon Loujaya Toni

Party: Indigenous People's Party

Electorate: Lae Open

Province: Morobe

Political Status: Minister for Community Development

Jacoberth John

Party: Independent

Electorate: Moresby South Electorate

Province: National Capital District

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: N/A

Electorate: N/A

Province: N/A

Political Status: N/A

Jennifer Baing

Party: N/A

Electorate: Markham Open

Province: Morobe

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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Kem Hesingut

Party: Independent

Electorate: Finschhafen

Province: Morobe

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

Lespina Wes

Party: People's Party

Electorate: Vanimo Green

Province: Sandaun

Political Status: N/A

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Linda Tule

Party: N/A

Electorate: N/A

Province: NCD

Political Status: N/A

Lucy Tabagua

Party: T.H.E Triumph Heritage Empowerment

Electorate: Hela Regional Seat

Province: Hela

Political Status: N/A

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Margaret Loko

Party: National Alliance

Electorate: National Capital District (NCD)

Province: National Capital District

Political Status: N/A

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Margreth Apakua

Party: PNG Greens party

Electorate: Wosera/Gawi

Province: East Sepik

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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Maria Kale

Party: League for Democracy

Electorate: Suai Sina-Sina Kamtai District

Province: Simbu Kundiawa

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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Martha Sam Kare

Party: Independent

Electorate: Nawaeb

Province: Morobe

Political Status: N/A

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Matilda Koma

Party: Indigenous People's Party

Electorate: Goilala

Province: Central

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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Michelle Tony

Party: Independent

Electorate: Central Gazette

Province: East New Britain

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: N/A

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 Mala Saulei

Party: Independent

Electorate: Tewai Siassi

Province: Lae, Morobe

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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Sophie Mangai

Party: Independent

Electorate: East Sepik Regional

Province: East Sepik

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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Hon Isabel Peta

Party: Independent

Electorate: South Bougainville

Province: Autonomous Region of Bougainville

Political Status: N/A

Hon Josephine Getsi

Party: Independent

Electorate: Peit Open

Province: Autonomous Region of Bougainville

Political Status: N/A

Hon Marcelline Kokiai

Party: Independent

Electorate: Central Bougainville

Province: Autonomous Region of Bougainville

Political Status: N/A

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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