Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Women candidates in Papua New Guinea's 2017 general elections

By Madeline Saga
The 2017 National Elections saw the largest number of women contesting in history of Papua New Guinea. A total of 167 women contested, the highest so far, an increase of 33 women from 134 from the 2012 Elections and 101 from 2007. This trend makes it obvious to note that we will see an ever increasing number of women contesting the next elections as more women become aware of political participation.
 Of the 167 women candidates, 106 of them contested as independents while 61 were party endorsed candidates. This clearly shows that over half of the total number of women candidates contested as independents. A number of reasons as to why this was the case would include, no form of resource support since first contact of a political party, parties did not seem to show an interest in the candidate, candidate just had no form of knowledge for what parties stood for and a candidate felt she did not need to be in association with a party as she had all her resources in place. However, the Registry of Political Parties and Candidates believe that any candidate whether male or female that contests under a political party has a greater chance of being placed in the top 5 final placing of the seat that he or she contests than an independent candidate. It is important to note that of the 110 declared seats 96 were won by candidates who contested under political parties while 14 candidates ran as independents. 

Despite there being a fair distribution of women candidates throughout the country as shown in the column graph above, not a single woman candidate was able to win a seat. However, the women who ran under parties fared much better by making it into the top 10. Those most notable include Dulciana Somare for East Sepik Regional, Rufina Peter for Central Regional, Delilah Gore for Sohe Open, Julie Soso for Eastern Highlands Regional and Iamo Launa for Rigo Open amongst a few of the 61 party endorsed female candidates.

The Registry has now begun to strengthen the role of women through political parties, a key area the Registry has always emphasised on and will continue to do so. The Registry will endeavour to work closely with political parties specifically their Constitutions to create a separate division that will promote women as members, as executives, conduct training tailored for women, identify potential women candidates and seek funds to support women in the political parties that they are members of.
If you would like to get more stories please visit this www.ippcc.gov.pg