The Prime Minister, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has applauded the conduct of most supporters across the political spectrum during the current election campaign, and he looks forward to this continuing for the remaining days of campaigning.
PM O’Neill said while there have been some instances of unacceptable behaviour, most of which have stemmed from personal tensions before the election, the 2017 election is a turning point for the nation.
“Through four decades of statehood, elections had been marred by supporters getting out of hand and making news headlines for all the wrong reasons,” the Prime Minister said.
“This election things are different. Candidates are presenting their ideas, some have policy platforms, and campaigning has been at a level of maturity that our Nation can be proud of as we prepare to vote.
“Over recent years we have seen a change in attitudes in Papua New Guinea, we have seen a difference in the way we manage national issues.
“With development and growth comes changes in attitudes and changes from past practices.
“We saw this with the Pacific Games in 2015, where spectator attitude and behaviour was not what we have seen in the past.
“Democratic process in Papua New Guinea has come of age, and our people are benefiting from this change.
“In my own travel around the country during this campaign I have seen large crowds turn out to hear what we have to say, but with none of the problems we have seen in past elections.
“I have felt very safe walking amongst thousands of people who have come to election rallies, shaking their hands and hearing opinions.
“People have shared their views and raised their concerns with me, and they have given thanks for the changes that have taken place in our country over the past five years.
“We still have several days before polling starts, and I hope this election will set an example for all elections to come.”
The Prime Minister said he looks forward to the voting period from June 24, and welcomes the participation of official election observers from around the world.
“We know some in the international media will only cover Papua New Guinea issues if they are negative, so we have seen little global coverage of the elections this time around.
“This election is a good news story for global media, and I hope we see this acknowledged by the foreign correspondents who are planning to travel to Papua New Guinea for the elections.
“Let’s demonstrate the change in Papua New Guinea to the world, go and vote for your candidate in a peaceful manner, and the people’s desire will be represented in the 10th Parliament of Papua New Guinea.”