Paias Wingti

Paias Wingti (1951- ), politician and businessman. Wingti was born in Moika, Western Highlands, and educated at Mt Hagen Community School, Mt Hagen High School and UPNG. He graduated B.A. in Economics and Political Science in 1976. In 1977 Wingti was elected to the House of Assembly to represent a Western Highlands electorate. He was Government Whip in 1977, Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation (March 1979-February 1980), Deputy Prime Minister (August 1982-March 1985), Minister for National Planning and Development (August 1982-November 1984), and Minister for Education (December 1984-March 1985). Wingti was a member of the PANGU Pati until March 1985 when he defected, formed the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and became leader of the Opposition. He defeated Michael Somare on a vote of no confidence and became Prime Minister from 1985-87. He was reelected Prime Minister in 1987 but defeated on a vote of no confidence in 1988. After the elections of July 1992 he was reelected Prime Minister (by the casting vote of the Speaker). In September 1993 he resigned while the House of Assembly was in session and was reelected minutes afterwards. Wingti’s ploy to preserve his position against a vote of no confidence for a further 18 months was challenged by the leader of the Opposition who argued that this action was unconstitutional and took the issue to the Supreme Court which rejected the challenge.

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