LONGTIME PNG LAWMAKER NAMALIU VOTED OUT

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 18) – Former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Rabbie Namaliu is the first high profile Member of Parliament to lose his seat in the national elections.

Sir Rabbie, who is leader of the country’s oldest political party, Pangu Pati, was beaten for the Kokopo Open seat which he has represented in Parliament since 1982.

He was defeated by Patrick Tammur, the son of Oscar Tammur, the man he dethroned for that seat.

Sir Rabbie, who was attending a gathering at his Raluana village in Kokopo at the time of the declaration, accepted his people’s verdict and thanked them for their support.

Sir Rabbie said he had been expecting a close race because five candidates including the MP-elect were from his LLG area. Despite losing, Sir Rabbie is confident Pangu Pati will get a good number of members into Parliament.

He said Pangu candidates were doing well so far.

On the leadership of the party, he said, a decision would be made later. This would be done after all results were completed and declared.

Sir Rabbie said he was looking forward to a break from politics adding he would be spending more time now with his family.

The break would also allow him to decide on what to do in the future. Asked if this was the end for him in the political arena, he replied: "In politics, you never say never, because the circumstances may change but for now, I am out of politics."

Meanwhile, East New Britain Governor Leo Dion retained his seat in a landslide victory

Mr Dion polled 36,748 votes, some 18,000 more than the runner up, lawyer Norbert Kubak after the sixth elimination to be declared the winner. Mr Kubak polled 18,951 votes.

Mr Dion was always confident of retaining his seat saying he had done his part and it was up to the people to decide.

He consistently picked up votes from most ballot boxes and had been leading since day one of counting.

In other developments in the New Guinea Islands region, New Ireland Governor Ian Ling-Stuckey was trailing former Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan. Third was unionist John Paska.

Martin Aini, the sitting MP is leading the Kavieng Open as counting entered the second round of eliminations. In the Namatanai Open seat, sitting MP Byron Chan was leading.

"I thank the people of Kandep for your overwhelming support that has enabled the Electoral Commission to declare Mr Polye the winner just after the first count of the votes under the Limited Preferential System,’’ Sir Michael said.

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