The political system of Papua New Guinea functions in a structure of a parliamentary representative democratic republic multi-party system, with the PM as
the head of government.
Papua New Guinea is an independent Commonwealth monarchy in which a governor-general, appointed by the National Parliament, serves as head of
The government exercises executive power.
Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament.
Free speech, press, worship, movement, and association are among the legal freedoms.
The judiciary is independent of both the executive and the legislature.
Major leaders of Papua New Guinea
Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II (see Politics of the United Kingdom slide 13
Governor General: Michael Ogio
Prime Minister: Peter O’Neill
Legislature: National Parliament
The Head of the Commonwealth, or simply Queen of Papua New Guinea, is represented in
Papua New Guinea by a governor general who serves on the guidance of the PM and the
cabinet; parliament elects the Governor-General of Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea’s governments are depicted by fragile political parties and very uneven
The PM, elected by Parliament, selects the other members of the cabinet.
Every ministry is led by a cabinet member, helped by a permanent secretary, i.e., a career
public servant, who supervises the staff of the ministry.
The cabinet is made up of members, such as the PM and ministers of executive departments;
politically, they take orders from parliament.
On the recommendation of the PM and the Leader of the Opposition, the Governor General
nominates the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
With the guidance of a jurisdictive committee, the Governor General nominates the other
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (based in the UK) serves as the most supreme
Main office holders
Name: Elizabeth II
Party: No party
Since: 16 September 1975
Name: Sir Michael Ogio
Party: No party
Since: 25 February 2011
Office: Prime Minister
Name: Peter O’Neill
Party: People’s National Congress Party
Since: 2 August 2011
Papua New Guinea has a unicameral National Parliament, formerly known as the House of Assembly, with 109 seats, of whom eighty-nine are elected from single-
member “open” constituencies and twenty from province-level “provincial” constituencies.
Members are elected through means of popular vote to serve five-year terms.
The most recent general election took place in June-July 2012.
MPs are elected from Papua New Guinea’s nineteen provinces and the National Capital District.
After Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia in 1975, members were elected by the first past the post system, whereby the winners often won
less than five percent of the vote.
Democratic reforms in 2001 saw the Limited Preferential Vote system (LPV), a revised version of alternative vote, where voters number their first three selections
among the nominees; the general election six years later was the first election to use LPV.
In June 1995, Parliament introduced reforms to alter the local government system, which made local MPs become local governors, while they kept their national
seats in Parliament.
Conversely, if a local member accepts a post as a cabinet member, the role of governor is given to one of the open members of a Parliament from the region.
National Alliance Party
Papua New Guinea Party
People’s Action Party
People’s Democratic Movement
United Resources Party
People’s Progress Party
New Generation Party
People’s National Congress Party
Rural Development Party
Melanesian Liberal Party
People’s Labour Party
Social Democratic Party
Melanesian Alliance Party
National Advance Party
Pipol First Party
T. H. E. Party
The judiciary of Papua New Guinea functions independently of the government.
It defends constitutional freedoms and interprets the laws.
There are numerous levels, the highest of which is the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea.
The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea, while independent of the government, is not independently organized; it is instead an appellate Full Court of the
Its Chief Justice, who also serves as the Chief Justice of the National Court, is nominated by the Governor General on the recommendation of the National
Executive Council after discussion with the Minister whose duty is justice.
The Judicial and Legal Services Commission nominate other justices of the National Court, who are there to sit as members of ad hoc benches of the Supreme
Reforms in June 1995 reformed the provincial government structure.
Regional (at large) MPs rose to the post of provincial governors, but still kept their
seats in Parliament.
Papua New Guinea has twenty-two province-level entities: twenty provinces, one
self-governing province (Bougainville) and the National Capital District:
1. Central 12. New Ireland
2. Chimbu (Simbu) 13. Northern (Oro Province)
3. Eastern Highlands 14. Bougainville (self-governing region)
4. East New Britain 15. Southern Highlands
5. East Sepik 16. Western Highlands (Fly)
6. Enga 17. Western Highlands
7. Gulf 18. West New Britain
8. Madang 19. West Sepik (Sandaun)
9. Manus 20. National Capital District
10. Milne Bay 21. Hela
11. Morobe 22. Jiwaka
Born 7 July 1942.
Ninth and current Governor-General of Papua New Guinea since 2011.
Previously led the People’s Democratic Movement party.
Became acting governor-general on 20 December 2010, when Jeffrey Nape
stepped down after only one week with no explanation.
Was elected as Governor-General in his own right on 14 January 2011 when he won
against Pato Kakeraya with sixty-five votes against Kakeraya’s twenty-three;
assumed office on 25 February 2011.
On 26 April 2011, Queen Elizabeth II convened the honour of Knighthood, devoting
him as Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St
George on his nomination as Governor-General of Papua New Guinea at Windsor
Born 13 February 1965 in Ialibu-Pangia District.
Ninth and current PM of Papua New Guinea since 4 August 2012.
Leader of the People’s National Congress and represents the electorate of Ialibu-Pangia.
His father, Brian O’Neill, was an Australian-born judge who was partly of Irish ancestry.
His mother, Awambo Yari, a Papua New Guinean, came from the Southern Highlands.
In 1949, his father moved to Papua New Guinea as an Australian government field general,
known as a kiap in Tok Pisin; he subsequently served as a judge in Goroka until he died in 1982.
Received his education at the Pangia Primary School, Iliabu High School, and Goroka High
Attended the University of Papua New Guinea and graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of
Accountancy and Commerce.
Worked as an entrepreneur before he became involved with politics.
Lives in Port Moresby, as of 2011, with his partner and two children; he has two daughters (Loris
and Joanne) and three sons (Travis, Brian, and Patrick).
While Travis and Patrick still reside in Papua New Guinea, Brian is going to boarding school in
Australia; both Loris and Joanne are going to college in Queensland, Australia.