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PNG's Peter O’Neill, third PM to be re-elected

Yesterday, the second day of August, 2017, saw the re-appointment of Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill as Prime Minister for a second five-year term.

It was also the day Papua New Guinea saw the appointment of the 17th Speaker of Parliament since Independence in 1975.

Both appointments were formalised with a swearing in ceremony at Government House by Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s return to power has been widely held in the public sphere as one of the most controversial.

Being the subject of much debate in public forums and social media, his campaign to be re-elected as PM was marred with allegations of corruption and heavy-handed tactics.

Although he may be the seventh person to occupy the esteemed position in the revolving door of PNG politics, the 52-year-old Peter O’Neill is only the third to be re-elected to the position since 1975.

In this regard, he has only been preceded by Paias Wingti, who was first elected as Prime Minister in 1985, when he served for three years and re-elected in 1992 to serve a further two years.

To date, however, none has surpassed Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, who served for a total of 17 years in the top spot and was re-elected to it twice after his first appointment in 1975.

Sir Michael, now retired, was in the Speaker’s VIP gallery yesterday to witness the makings of a new era for Peter O’Neill. Post Courier/One PNG
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