The prime minister’s position carries a lot of responsibilities, and also benefits. This is the highest position in the country – those that occupied it will always crave it. But, does this make them the best PNG prime minister candidates?
Prime Ministers of Papua New Guinea
- Late Sir Michael Thomas Somare (Momase) 1975 – 1980; 2002 – 2012
- Sir Julius Chan (New Guinea Island) 1980 – 1982; 1994 – 1997
- Pius Wingti (Highlands) 1986 – 1988; 1992 – 1994
- Sir Rabbie Namaliu (Momase) 1988 – 1992
- Late Bill Skate (Southern) 1997 – 1999
- Late Sir Mekere Morauta (Southern) 1999 – 2002
- Peter O’Neill (Highlands) 2012 – 2019
- James Marape (Highlands) 2019 – 2022
The last man standing, Sir Julius Chan, describes the former PNG prime ministers in his book, Playing the Game.
Here is what he thought of the past PNG PMs.
- Sir Michael Somare – he thought Somare was a close friend but a political rival. He did not like Somare’s style of leadership. Throughout his book, he was slagging Somare’s political tactics and the way political powers were concentrated within small political groups called the ‘4 Sirs and the ‘Kitchen Cabinet’.
- Pius Wingti – he thought he was okay to work with as his deputy PM. He finds him different from the other Highlands MPs like Okuk. He thought Wingti focused more on business and less on politics.
- Sir Rabbie Namaliu – he thought Namaliu was a true academic, but indecisive.
- Bill Skate – he loathed Skate and thought he should never be trusted.
- Sir Mekere Morauta –-Sir Julius Chan said very little about Mekere. Understandably, he was out of office when Sir Mekere got into politics.
Living Prime Ministers of PNG
Who is the best candidate for the PNG Prime Minister’s position?
- Belden Namah (Momase) – he was the incumbent Opposition Leader and a party leader, 3 terms MP and likely to be the force behind the formation of a new govt. A potential PM candidate, but abrupt and reactive.
- Kerenga Kua (Highlands)- he is the 2 term, a strong supporter of the late Sir Micheal Somare and leader of the eastern (lower) highlands block, and the leader of the National Party. He is a lawyer by profession, can stand his ground and has a presence about him. He is a dark horse but he will have difficulty working with people he did not like.
- Dr Allan Marat (New Guinea Islands) – is cool, calm and collected. He can make a great prime minister. He needs to put his hand up and make it count as the leader of the Melanesian Liberal Party. This is a long shot, but this MP has the PM’s aura about him.
- Patrick Pruiatch (Momase)- he is a 3 term MP serving senior ministerial portfolios during the Somare, O’Neill and Marape govts; and leader of the National Alliance party. He comes across as an intelligent MP, but it’s quite the opposite.
- Don Polye (Highlands) – he occupies senior ministerial portfolios in the Somare and O’Neill govts. Not easily manipulated, a fighter. He is the leader of THE party. He is a civil engineer by profession and can work with MPs from every part of the country. Yet, his THE party has struggled to muster numbers in elections.
- Charles Abel (Southern) – a former deputy prime minister, he settled well as the second in command. However, he has a good chance of changing seats with the leader of the PNC party and commanding a following in the Southern part of the country.