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Papua New Guinea’s parliament re-elected James Marape as prime minister Tuesday, following an election that was marred by violence and fraud allegations, the Associated Press reported.
Marape’s nomination comes after the country’s legislature resumed even though vote counting continues in some parts of the country. All 97 lawmakers that participated voted in favor of Marape.
The prime minister will now lead a coalition of at least 17 parties. He has pledged to stabilize and boost the economy, implement sustainable debt financing and roll out government programs for education and health.
Marape’s rival and predecessor Peter O’Neill attempted to delay the legislature’s sitting, saying that voting is ongoing across Papua New Guinea. However, his application for a Supreme Court injunction failed, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Elections in Papua New Guinea took place from July 4 to July 22 but counting has been extended until this Friday because of security concerns and logistical challenges.
Since independence from Australia in 1975, polls in the multicultural Pacific Nation have historically been problematic partly because of difficult terrain and poor infrastructure.
Voter fraud, bribery and lethal violence usually mark the elections in the diverse tribal society of 9 million people who are mostly subsistence farmers and among which are spoken over 800 languages.
Authorities recorded nearly 50 election-related deaths this year, down from the 204 fatalities documented in the 2017 vote.