Peter O’Neill has been reappointed as prime minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG) on Wednesday, August 2. He was re-elected by 60 votes to 46 by parliament. O'Neill was charged with corruption in June 2014 amid a highly controversial first term in office.
Reports suggest election-related protests in Mount Hagen have declined and services are gradually returning to normal. The government of Australia nonetheless continues to warn citizens of the residual risk of post-election tensions in PNG. Transportation disruptions are possible, including flight schedules at Mount Hagen Airport (HGU; also called Kagamuga Airport).
The campaign and election were marred by violence, arson, allegations of voter fraud, bribery, and at least one attempted kidnapping. Vote counting was delayed by several days after polling was interrupted or postponed in several regions due to logistical problems, discrepancies in the electoral roll, and disputes among the candidates. Protesters blocked roadways leading to HGU and caused significant disruptions in Mount Hagen, forcing businesses to close.
No party has ever won a majority of votes in a national election ; the numerous parties negotiated coalitions before voting for a prime minister. Elections are being held amid significant sociopolitical tensions in the country after PNG's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill was charged with corruption in June 2014. He is also accused of burdening PNG with large amounts of debt. As a result of PNG's poor economic health, the country has high levels of unemployment, crime, and poverty.
Individuals are advised to monitor the situation and to avoid all large gatherings due to the possibility of violence. If flying to, from, or through HGU, confirm flights before departing for the airport.
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