First major election casualty

Mining Minister and three-term Namatanai MP, Byron Chan, is the first major casualty of the 2017 National Election.

Chan is a member of the People’s Progress Party but maintained ranks with the O’Neill-Dion Government when the party broke ranks to team up with the Opposition. This was during the unsuccessful motion of the Vote of No-Confidence early this year.

The people of Namatanai District in New Ireland Province have spoken through the ballot papers.

Cousin and National Alliance Party President, Walter Schnaubelt, is the new Namatanai member declared midday yesterday after a landslide victory.         

His declaration was significant, as he is the first member in New Ireland to reach a 50% + 1 absolute majority in the LPV system.   

Schnaubelt, at the completion of the 25 ballot boxes, collected 20,479, Chan 12,804, and Matius Kiapgugu (IND) 309, rounding up the final top three.

He is the first NA Party candidate to be declared.

Also, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was declared in Mendi Town at 12:30pm on Saturday. 

The people of Ialibu-Pangia mandated O’Neill for his fourth term in the National Parliament.

PM collected 48,714 votes to win in the first primary count by an absolute majority.

Other candidates officially declared so far are; James Marape (PNC) Tari-Pori, Justin Tkatchenko (PNC) Moresby South and Dr Alan Marat (MLP) Rabaul Open. 

Charles Yapumi