Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea

The Head of Government of Papua New Guinea is a Prime Minister, a member of Parliament who is elected by a majority vote in Parliament following national elections or after a vacancy has arisen (for example due to a vote of no confidence). Following national elections, the leader of the party who has won the largest number of seats is invited by the Governor-General to nominate for the position. If he or she fails to receive a majority of votes, other candidates can be nominated for the position.

Prime Ministers are regularly threatened with votes of no confidence under which they can be removed by a simple majority of those voting. The constitutional provision for parliamentary votes of no confidence has created instability because no party has been able to muster sufficient votes to govern in its own right. All governments have been fragile coalitions. There have been 15 votes of no-confidence since 1975. Michael Somare was removed by votes of no confidence in March 1980 and November 1985, and Paias Wingti in July 1988. In July 1991 the Constitution was amended to extend from 6 to 18 months the period in which a newly elected Government is free from an Opposition no-confidence motion.

List of Prime Ministers of Papua New Guinea

Name Tenure  Political Affiliation
Michael Somare 1975-1980 Pangu Party
Sir Julius Chan 1980-1982 People’s Progress Party
Michael Somare 1982-1985 Pangu Party
Paias Wingti 1985-1988 People’s Democratic Movement
Sir Rabbie Namaliu 1988-1992 Pangu Party
Paias Wingti 1990-1994 People’s Democratic Movement
Sir Julius Chan 1994-1997 People’s Progress Party
John Giheno (Acting) 1997 People’s Progress Party
Sir Julius Chan 1997 People’s Progress Party
Bill Skate 1997-1999 People’s National Congress Party
Sir Mekere Morauta 1999-2002 People’s Democratic Movement
Sir Michael Somare 2002-2011 National Alliance Party
Sam Abal (Acting) 2010-2011 National Alliance Party
Peter O’Neill 2011-Now People’s National Congress Party

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