Election 2007

Election 2007: The Shift to Limited Preferential Voting in Papua New Guinea

R.J. May
Ray Anere
Nicole Haley
Katherine Wheen
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Election 2007
    Book Description:

    Papua New Guinea’s general election in 2007 attracted particular interest for several reasons. Not only did it follow what was widely acknowledged as the country’s worst election ever, in 2002 (in which elections in six of the country’s 109 electorates were declared to be ‘failed elections’), it was the first general election to be held under a new limited preferential voting system. It also followed the first full parliamentary term under the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates, which had been introduced in 2001 in an attempt to strengthen political parties and create a greater degree of stability in the national parliament, and was the first to embrace a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to electoral administration, through an Interdepartmental Electoral Committee. This volume provides an analysis of the 2007 election, drawing on the work of a domestic monitoring team organized through the National Research Institute, and several visiting scholars. It addresses key issues such as voter education, electoral administration, election security, the role of political parties, women as candidates and voters, the shift to limited preferential voting, and HIV transmission, and provides detailed accounts of the election in a number of open and provincial electorates. It is generally agreed that the election of 2007 was an improvement on that of 2002. But problems of electoral administration and voting behaviour remain. These are identified in this volume, and recommendations made for electoral reform.

    eISBN: 978-1-922144-30-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Foreword and Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)

    Every general election in Papua New Guinea, since 1964, has been the subject of a comprehensive collaborative study by Papua New Guinean and foreign scholars. And every study (with the exception, to date, of 2002) has been published. This volume continues a longstanding tradition.

    The election of 2007, however, generated particular interest: not only did it follow what has been described as Papua New Guinea’s worst election ever, in 2002 (in which elections in six of the country’s 109 electorates were declared to be ‘failed elections’), it was the first general election to be held under a new limited preferential...

  4. Contributors
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Part 1: Issues
    • 1. An Overview of the 2007 Election in Papua New Guinea
      (pp. 3-8)
      Andrew S. Trawen

      When I was invited to provide an introductory overview of the 2007 general election from the perspective of the Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission (PNGEC) I was pleased to accept, given the past working relationship between the National Research Institute, The Australian National University and the PNGEC. What I present is a brief analysis from the PNGEC’s viewpoint, outlining the challenges and presenting a road map for the PNGEC to follow as it strives to achieve greater efficiency in electoral administration and conduct.

      Let me begin with the important dates for the national election. They are:

      issue of writs, 4...

    • 2. IDEC: The 2007 General Election through a Whole-of-Government Approach
      (pp. 9-10)
      Paul B.B. Bengo

      The staging and the conduct of the 2007 general election in Papua New Guinea was a success story as a result of effective cooperation and coordination among the relevant state organizations at national and provincial levels.

      This effective cooperation and coordination was forged and fostered by the electoral commissioner, who insisted on the need for a whole-of-government approach in the planning, staging, and conduct of the general election.

      In the implementation of this initiative an Inter-departmental Electoral Committee (IDEC) was established at the national level while provincial election steering committees were established in the provinces, chaired by provincial administrators.


    • 3. Background to the 2007 Election: Political Developments
      (pp. 11-34)
      R.J. May and Ray Anere

      Papua New Guinea’s sixth post-independence election in 2002 was widely described as the worst in the country’s history (see Siaguru in Post-Courier 28 June 2003; Chin 2003; Gelu 2003; May 2003; Standish 2003). It was marked by inaccurate—often grossly inaccurate—electoral rolls, widespread voting irregularities and manipulation (sometimes by electoral officials), intimidation of voters, hijacking of ballot boxes, and violence among rival candidates and their supporters and in a few instances against polling officials. There were a number of election-related deaths. In Enga Province, ballot boxes held for safekeeping in a metal container outside a police station were bombed...

    • 4. The Voter Education Program: Growing a Demand for Good Governance
      (pp. 35-56)
      Susan Ferguson

      Participation in voter education changed the lives of many people who ran voter awareness projects for the 2007 general elections in Papua New Guinea. It changed the voting behaviour of a proportion of those who took part in the program. This account of the voter education program through civil society organizations (CSOs) is a personal account from a participant in the process, since the key to electoral awareness lay in its participatory nature. My account is backed up by an evaluation of the program, but is essentially a subjective diary of what we did.

      In March 2006 I was appointed...

    • 5. Electoral Administration
      (pp. 57-78)
      Nicole Haley

      This chapter, which provides an overview of electoral administration in the 2007 election, draws heavily upon the findings from the 2007 Domestic Observation Report (Haley and Anere 2009). It finds that Papua New Guinea’s 2007 general election was better managed and more peaceful than the 2002 polls, which were marred by electoral irregularities and widespread violence across the Highlands, and were generally regarded as the worst elections in Papua New Guinea’s history. In short, all the seats were declared, MPs in the new parliament were elected with larger mandates, government was formed, and for the first time in many years...

    • 6. Security in Southern Highlands Province
      (pp. 79-86)
      Siale Diro

      This chapter is intended to give a background to the security situation in Southern Highlands Province (SHP) and to outline the security mission for the 2007 election and its objectives. In so doing, it will look at the security force composition, its pre-election operations, the conduct of the election, and post-election operations. Finally, it will reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the security operations in the province and make some recommendations for the future.

      The study is based on my observations and experience as commander of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) contingent in SHP and deputy commander...

    • 7. Policing the Elections in Chimbu Province
      (pp. 87-106)
      Thomson Fafungian

      National elections in Papua New Guinea, particularly the Highlands Region, are something that people look forward to—the educated elite, community leaders, churches, businessmen and village people alike. Elections are a time when money, pork and beer flow into the province and everyone wants to participate. This gifting culture started on a large scale in the 1982 national election in Chimbu Province when Sir Iambakey Okuk bought 34 pallets (3400 cartoons) of beer from the SP Brewery for the Simbu people to consume as part of his election campaign. During this drinking spree people ran amok in the town and...

    • 8. Conducting and Securing Elections in a High-Risk Setting: The Koroba-Lake Kopiago Experience
      (pp. 107-122)
      Chris Kenny and Nicole Haley

      This chapter offers a security perspective on the elections in Koroba-Lake Kopiago Open electorate during the 2007 general election. It looks specifically at the challenges of conducting and securing elections in a volatile high-risk setting. It finds that the 2007 election was considerably less violent than recent general elections and this was attributable in no small part to the huge investment in security. It also finds that there is considerable room for improvement with respect to inter-agency coordination and electoral administration, and that the role of the security forces should be clarified and pre-deployment training provided to all security personnel...

    • 9. Political Parties and the 2007 National Election: Alignment to Reform?
      (pp. 123-138)
      Alphonse Gelu

      Papua New Guinea’s parliamentary democracy took a new turn in the period 2002–2007, by maintaining continuity in the political regime. This was probably attributable to an important reform that was instituted by the Morauta government in 2001, namely the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC). While this is a significant development, some sceptics are not comfortable with several aspects of the reform, such as the provisions for the formation of government and the continued success of independent candidates in the elections.

      The 2007 election was the second in Papua New Guinea to be conducted...

    • 10. Women as Candidates and Voters: Gender Issues and the Kerema Open Electorate
      (pp. 139-156)
      Orovu Sepoe

      The 2007 national election in Papua New Guinea was expected to produce some pronounced changes in terms of its administration and conduct, and in the final outcome, particularly as a result of the introduction of a limited preferential voting (LPV) system. Certainly, a lot more work and higher costs were involved in administering the election, partly due to the lengthy counting process associated with LPV. In terms of its outcomes, the winners obtained a larger mandate from the voters than in previous elections. While some observers commented that electoral violence was quelled as a result of LPV, others posited that...

    • 11. The Kup Women for Peace: A Localized and Innovative Approach to Free, Fair and Peaceful Elections
      (pp. 157-170)
      Rachael Hinton, Michelle Kopi, Angela Apa, Agnes Sil, Mary Kini, Jerry Kai, Yanny Guman and Daniell Cowley

      Despite the longevity and success of some non-government organizations (NGOs) in Papua New Guinea, civil society is in its early days and is limited in its scope (Pelto 2007). However, in the absence of a strong state, civil society groups that have developed within a context of conflict are responding to issues of violence in their communities. Small-scale, localized interventions that focus on human rights and human security issues and develop their own strategies for violence reduction are seeing positive law and justice outcomes. A strong feature of the 2007 national election in Papua New Guinea was the involvement of...

    • 12. The Context of HIV Transmission During the 2007 Election in Enga Province
      (pp. 171-192)
      Philip Gibbs and Marie Mondu

      A team of civil society observers was commissioned by the National Research Institute to observe and study the 2007 election in Enga Province. One of the issues to consider was the impact of the election on the spread of HIV in the province. Arriving in Enga at the beginning of the nomination period, the writers found a widespread opinion that there was heightened sexual activity in the province during the election period.

      We chose a number of ways to look for trends in both protected and unprotected sexual behaviour. These included comparison of birth rates for the 2002 election year...

    • 13. Assessing the Shift to Limited Preferential Voting
      (pp. 193-206)
      R.J. May, Katherine Wheen and Nicole Haley

      As part of a package of economic and political reforms, the Morauta government of 1999–2002 amended the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections to replace the existing first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system to one of limited preferential voting (LPV).² This did not come into effect in the national election of 2002, but was used in 10 by-elections between 2002 and 2007.

      Under the new LPV system voters were required to express three preferences.³ Once transferred, second and third preferences carried the same weight as a first preference. Failure to express three preferences constituted an invalid vote.

      A number...

  6. Part 2: Electorates
    • 14. The Abau Open Electorate: A Second Go at LPV
      (pp. 209-226)
      Ray Anere

      The Abau Open electorate lies about 200 kilometres east of Port Moresby and at the 2000 census was home to some 38,378 people (National Statistical Office 2000:13).

      There are three local-level governments (LLGs) in the Abau electorate: Aroma Rural LLG, with a population in 2000 of 20,677; Amazon Bay Rural LLG with 8099 people; and Cloudy Bay Rural LLG with 9602 (Figure 14.1). The fact that Aroma has more eligible voters than Amazon Bay and Cloudy Bay combined impacted on the conduct of the 2007 elections in terms of both the campaign strategies of the candidates and the Papua New...

    • 15. The Ijivitari Open Electorate: Women’s Participation as Candidates and Voters
      (pp. 227-244)
      Dixon Susub

      The general assumption is that women have always had a lower status then men in Papua New Guinea societies. This assumption is reflected in social indicators such as inadequate health services, resulting in extremely high maternal and infant mortality rates; low life expectancy; a high incidence of HIV/AIDS; vulnerability to abuse and violence; and low literacy rates.

      The political sphere is no different, but low status is reinforced by the small numbers of women in high decision-making jobs in both public and private sectors, and more especially in political leadership roles.

      While these indicators are common to most Third World...

    • 16. Communication, Logistics and Inter-Agency Partnerships in the Eastern Highlands Provincial Electorate
      (pp. 245-262)
      Michael Unage

      With the introduction of limited preferential voting (LPV), and the late legislative change to voting procedures in November 2006, many predicted that the 2007 general election would be a failure. Nonetheless, there was general satisfaction with the election outcome, with election-related violence in the Highlands down significantly from 2002 levels. Among factors contributing to electoral success, communications, logistics and inter-agency partnership were critical. This paper examines issues of communications, logistics and interagency partnership in the Eastern Highlands provincial electorate.

      Eastern Highlands is one of the 19 provincial electorates in the country. It shares borders with Morobe, Madang, Simbu and Gulf...

    • 17. The Election in Chuave Open Electorate
      (pp. 263-280)
      William Steven Gari Kaupa

      The 2007 election for Chuave Open in Simbu Province, which closely followed by-elections in Chuave Open in August 2006 and Simbu Provincial in 2004, was quieter than previous general elections. In 2002 (and 1997) many candidates had been prevented from travelling widely to campaign, and there was a great deal of intimidation of voters and ‘forcing’ of the vote.

      The Chuave people have a high level of tribal contestation and also ample experience of preferential voting, so they knew how to exploit limited preferential voting (LPV) to their advantage. However, initial good impressions need to be re-examined in evaluating this...

    • 18. Limited Preferential Voting in Enga: The Wabag Open Electorate
      (pp. 281-304)
      Philip Gibbs

      Politics in Enga Province is known for its intensity and sometimes violence. I have written previously about the ‘political culture’ that has emerged (Gibbs 2004, 2006). It is a culture which draws on traditions, but adapts to modern realities.

      The previous election in 2002 did not go well in Enga. The polling began a week later than planned and was drawn out for two weeks in a drama involving hijacked ballot boxes, the bombing of voting papers in containers beside the Wabag Police Station, and fatal shootings at one polling place (The National 12–14 July 2002:1–2; Independent 1...

    • 19. Religion, Politics and the Election in the Southern Highlands
      (pp. 305-326)
      Richard Eves

      This chapter looks at the issue of religion and politics in the 2007 election in the Southern Highlands, focusing specifically on the Kagua-Erave Open electorate (Figure 19.1).

      The great diversity in forms of religion in Papua New Guinea means that it is unwise to attempt to generalize about the effects of religion on politics. Although almost everybody in the country today identifies as Christian, the churches are very large in number and are widely divergent in beliefs and policies.¹ Further, each denomination has its own local character, influenced in part by the many popular local religions drawn from traditional beliefs...

    • 20. Guns, Money and Sex: Assessing the Impact of Electoral System Reform on Political Culture in Southern Highlands Province
      (pp. 327-346)
      Nicole Haley and Ben Dierikx

      Papua New Guinea’s 2007 general election offered the first nationwide test of the new limited preferential voting (LPV) system, which replaced the first-past-the-post system, under which all previous post-independence elections had been conducted. In this chapter we make some observations about recent electoral reform in Papua New Guinea, particularly the impact of reforms on the Organic Law on National and Local-level Government Elections, which saw the introduction of LPV after the 2002 election. The chapter seeks to explore the extent to which electoral system reform, in particular the introduction of LPV, has influenced the conduct of elections and political culture...

    • 21. Results at any Cost? The Legacy of 2002 in Koroba-Lake Kopiago Open Electorate
      (pp. 347-384)
      Nicole Haley

      In June 2007, the people of Koroba-Lake Kopiago went to the polls for the fourth time in five years. The election was of particular interest because Koroba-Lake Kopiago was one of the six open electorates in which the 2002 general election had been deemed to have failed, and was one of the 10 electorates around the country that had had a limited preferential voting (LPV) by-election prior to the general election. It is also an electorate that has been subject to election studies in the past (see Haley 2002, 2004, 2006 and Robinson 2002) and for which there is consequently...

    • 22. Elections and Corruption: The ‘Highlandization’ of Voting in the Madang Open and Provincial Electorates
      (pp. 385-406)
      Patrick Matbob

      Elections in the coastal areas of Papua New Guinea are generally free, fair and orderly compared to the Highlands provinces. This was again observed during the 2007 election, in which almost all coastal provinces experienced smooth and orderly conduct of elections. However, while most of the seats were declared before the return of writs, Madang was the only coastal province that could not declare its Provincial seat because of a court injunction taken out by some candidates. The return of writs had to be deferred by a week until the court had ruled on the case, subsequently allowing the declaration...

    • 23. What is Holding them Back? Reflections on one Woman’s Loss at the Polls: Usino-Bundi Open
      (pp. 407-424)

      Women’s struggles for equity continue to be frustrated in Papua New Guinea and other Pacific island nations (Dickerson-Putman and Zimmer-Tamakoshi 1994; Macintyre 1998). Issues such as gender violence are largely ignored by male politicians (Zimmer-Tamakoshi 1997d; Bradley 1998; Dinnen 2000; Human Rights Watch 2005) and everywhere women suffer political setbacks (Kidu 2006). In Papua New Guinea, only three women served in parliament concurrently in the decade following independence in 1975. From 1987 to 1997, there were no women in parliament and few in provincial offices. In 1997, two women were elected to the 109-member parliament, with one—the white widow...

    • 24. Organization Takes the Spoils: The Election in Yangoru-Saussia
      (pp. 425-442)
      Leo Yat Paol and Patrick Gesch

      The above words of the governor of the East Sepik Province were programmatic for his election campaign in the Yangoru-Saussia electorate in the 2007 election. He had his komiti; they got their rewards; it was definitely hard work, and quite expensive, for him to satisfy the demands of the village voters. The outcome for the governor was a contentious return to the national parliament. In April 2008 a petition by the losing candidate, who accused the governor of bribing voters during the campaign, was upheld; however, Waranaka appealed the decision and in March 2009 was reinstated (see below). The question...

    • 25. The Return of the Chief: East Sepik Provincial
      (pp. 443-458)
      R.J. May

      In 2007 the East Sepik Provincial seat was held by the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare. In fact, Sir Michael had held the seat since 1968, for 19 of those 40 years as prime minister. In 2007 most observers expected Somare to be reelected, but within the province there appeared to be some groundswell of anti-Somare sentiment, fuelled by a belief that although East Sepik had provided the country’s prime minister, and a good share of its cabinet ministers, for much of the post-independence period, the province had fallen behind other parts of the country in terms of economic and...

    • 26. Political Parties and the Election in Gazelle
      (pp. 459-476)
      Elly B. Kinkin

      This chapter will look at the Gazelle Open electorate in the 2007 election, with a focus on political parties. The significance of political parties flows from the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC) which was enacted in 2001, with the primary objective of strengthening the political party system on the eve of the 2002 election. The OLIPPAC was later replaced with a revised version, which came into force on 15 October 2003.

      The changes brought about by the OLIPPAC and the replacing of first-past-the-post voting by limited preferential voting (LPV) will be discussed together, as...

    • 27. Between Eagles and Flying Foxes: Elections for the Manus Provincial and Open Seats
      (pp. 477-502)
      Steffen Dalsgaard

      People in Manus often speak in metaphors or in tropes (Tokpisin: tok piksa), particularly when referring to the politics of traditional ceremonies at the village level and in wider provincial forums. One of the prevailing metaphors of the 2007 election was that of the ‘flying fox’ (blak bokis); this was most eloquently expressed in a speech by Dr Gabriel Kulwaum, one of the candidates for the Manus Open seat. The flying fox is a migratory fruit-eating bat. It comes when the fruits are ripe and leaves when it has eaten them. In contrast to this animal is the eagle (tarangau)....

    • 28. Looking to 2012: Lessons from 2007 and Arising Issues
      (pp. 503-512)
      Ray Anere and Katherine Wheen

      The consensus that emerges from this volume is that the conduct of the 2007 Papua New Guinea general election was an improvement on the previous general election in 2002.

      The prioritization of security, especially in the Highlands Region (chapters 6, 7 and 8), the improved whole-of-government coordination through the Interdepartmental Electoral Committee (chapters 2 and 5), and the increased recognition of the role of community engagement through electoral awareness (chapter 4) and domestic observation (chapter 5), are three stand-out improvements in 2007.

      Each of these improvements clearly demonstrates that elections are multi-stakeholder events and not purely administrative exercises coordinated by...

  7. Appendix: Results of the 2007 Election
    (pp. 513-524)