Polye back in PNG parliament

2:16 pm on 16 April 2021

A former Papua New Guinea deputy prime minister, Don Polye, is back in parliament after a protracted electoral dispute went his way.

Don Polye (right) on the PNG election trail

Don Polye (right) on the PNG election trail Photo: Supplied/ Wanpis Ako

After Polye narrowly lost his Kandep seat in PNG's 2017 election, he challenged his rival Alfred Manase's victory on the basis of irregularities during the vote count process.

A number of ballot boxes from wards where support was usually strong for Polye were excluded from the vote count.

A court-ordered recount of the election, including the ballot boxes that were earlier discounted, was conducted amid tight security in Eastern Highlands earlier this year. Polye scored 22,237 votes to 21,033 for Manase, the candidate for the People's National Congress party of former prime minister Peter O'Neill.

The National Court this week dismissed Manase's challenge to the legality of the recount, paving the way for Polye to be declared Kandep Open MP again.

The 2017 election in Kandep, like previous polls, sparked deadly violence among each the supporters of both politicians. In a bid to avoid a repeat, PNG authorities moved the recount to a seperate province from Enga.

Polye is the leader of the Triumph, Heritage and Empowerment party which has several MPs in this parliament.

He looms as an influential player in a possible motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister James Marape being prepared by the opposition led by Belden Namah.