The People’s Progress Party (PPP) was established in the second half of 1970 by Julius (later Sir Julius) Chan, expatriate Warren Dutton, and nine parliamentarians. After general elections in 1972 and 1977 the PPP’s parliamentary members voted for Michael Somare as Prime Minister and joined the PANGU Pati in coalition governments. In November 1978 the PPP left the coalition claiming that the Prime Minister had failed to consult their leader, Chan, over proposed amendments to the Leadership Code and a Ministerial reshuffle. Chan was elected Prime Minister following a no confidence vote in March 1980 and the PPP formed a Coalition Government with the National Party, the United Party, the Melanesian Alliance, the Papua Party and Independents.
At the 1982 elections the PPP campaigned for an honest, strong, stable and “progressive” government and relied upon Chan’s personality and reputation for capable financial management. The PPP won 14 seats and Chan chose to take minority party status in Opposition rather than join the Opposition coalition. In 1985 the party backed Paias Wingti (People’s Democratic Movement [PDM]) to oust Michael Somare (PANGU) as Prime Minister. The PPP won only six seats in the 1987 election and joined a Government coalition led by Wingti until he was voted from office in July 1988. The PPP remained with the PDM in Opposition. By 1992 the PPP fortunes had improved dramatically. The party won 20 seats, joined Wingti’s PDM to form a Government and the PPP leader Chan became Deputy Prime Minister.