James Marape

James Marape (born 24 April 1971) is a Papua New Guinean politician, who is serving as the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea since May 2019. He has been a member of the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea since July 2007, representing the electorate of Tari-Pori Open in Hela Province in the highlands. He has held Cabinet Posts as Minister of Education (2008–2011) and Minister of Finance (2012–2019).[1] Marape entered the 2022 elections under the banner of Pangu Party and won more seats than any other party. He was therefore entitled to form the government. His new government was elected unopposed by the new parliament. [2]

James Marape
Marape 190614 Haus Lotu (2) (cropped).jpg
Marape in June 2019
9th Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
Assumed office
30 May 2019
MonarchElizabeth II
Charles III
Governor-GeneralSir Bob Dadae
DeputyDavis Steven (2019–2020)
Sam Basil (2020–2022)
John Rosso (2022–present)
Preceded byPeter O'Neill
Minister of Finance
In office
August 2012 – 11 April 2019
Prime MinisterPeter O'Neill
Preceded byPeter O'Neill
Succeeded bySam Basil
Minister for Education
In office
16 December 2008 – 2 August 2011
Prime MinisterMichael Somare
Member of the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea
Assumed office
2007
Preceded byTom Tomiape
ConstituencyTari-Pori District
Personal details
Born (1971-04-24) 24 April 1971 (age 51)
Tari, Southern Highlands Province, Territory of Papua and New Guinea
(now Hela Province, Papua New Guinea)
Political partyPangu Party (2019–present)
Other political
affiliations
People's National Congress (2012–2019)
National Alliance Party (2007)
People's Progress Party (2002)
SpouseRachael Marape
Children6
Alma materUniversity of Papua New Guinea

Early careerEdit

Marape was born in 1971 in Tari, Hela Province (then in Southern Highlands Province). He attended Minj Primary School and Kabiufa Adventist Secondary School in the PNG highlands. Marape graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Papua New Guinea in 1993, and a postgraduate Honours Degree in Environmental Science in 2000.[3]

He has a background in managerial functions. From 1994 to 1995, he was Officer in charge at the PNG Institute of Medical Research, Tari Branch. From 1996 to 1998, he was Operations Manager of GDC at the Hides Gas project. After obtaining his honours degree, he became Acting Assistant Secretary of Policy with the Department of Personnel Management from 2001 to 2006.[4]

Political careerEdit

 
Marape (right) with American politician Mike Honda in 2012

His entry into politics was tumultuous. Marape first contested the Tari-Pori seat at the 2002 election for the People's Progress Party, when voting in the Southern Highlands Province was cancelled due to widespread violence.[5][6] He contested the supplementary election in 2003 but lost to incumbent MP Tom Tomiape in a contest marred by the bashing of a polling official by his supporters.[7][8] He challenged the result in the Court of Disputed Returns, but both his initial petition and a subsequent appeal were rejected.[9][10][11] He contested the seat for a second time at the 2007 election and defeated Tomiape.[12] He won the subsequent parliamentary elections in Tari-Pori (2012 and 2017). He obtained in 2017 50%+1 of the vote (30,192 votes) and this is unusual in PNG's Limited PV system.[13] A challenge by the second runner up Justin Haiara was dismissed by the National Court.[14]

Prime Minister Michael Somare gave him major parliamentary responsibilities after his win in 2007: Parliamentary Secretary for Works, Transport and Civil Aviation, Deputy Chair of the Privileges Committee and member of the Parliamentary Referral Committee on Inter-Government Relations. He was Minister for Education from 16 December 2008 to 2 August 2011. He was then a member of Somare's National Alliance Party. In February 2012, he left the National Alliance Party and joined the party of Prime Minister O'Neill, the People's National Congress (PNC). O'Neill appointed him as Minister of Finance in 2012.[15]

On 11 April 2019, he resigned as Minister of Finance but remained a member of People's National Congress and the Government.[16] He resigned from the party on 29 April 2019. Sam Basil was appointed as Minister for Finance on 18 April 2019.[17]

He resigned as Cabinet Minister.[18] On 17 May the Ombudsman Commission recommended a leadership tribunal to judge O'Neill and Marape on the UBS loan to acquire shares in Oil Search Limited.[19] That was mentioned as the reason for Marape's replacement as alternate MP by Patrick Pruaitch on 28 May 2019. Marape introduced Patrick Pruaitch as alternate MP and declared that the vote for Pruaitch was by consensus.[20] Peter O’Neill had then resigned as Prime Minister on 26 May.[21] Marape emerged from the succession struggle with 26 MPs who returned to the PNC from opposing parties. As a result, the opposition did not have the numbers anymore for a vote of no confidence.[22] The resignation of O'Neill necessitated the election of a new Prime Minister. Marape obtained in the subsequent election 101 votes as compared to 8 for Mekere Morauta.[23] O'Neill expected that his Cabinet would continue unchanged. However during a reshuffle on 8 November Marape replaced most of the Cabinet Ministers. O'Neill continues to be critical. He opposes especially Marape's view of the economy. He stresses that Marape is as responsible for the state of affairs as O'Neill: he was minister of finance.[24]

Attempted vote of no confidenceEdit

On 10 November 2020 Marape was confronted by an attempt to topple him from power. A motion of no confidence in the Marape government could be mounted after 30 November as the grace period for a new cabinet expired then. A motion by Belden Namah was accepted (57–39) to adjourn Parliament to 1 December with the intention to mount a vote on such a motion.[25] [26] Those who voted with Namah, 55 in number, went in a so-called "camp" in Vanimo, the constituency of Belden. They comprised among others of 11 Cabinet ministers, 3 ex Prime Ministers and 4 ex Deputy Prime Ministers, Marape retorted by starting a "camp" on Loloata island near Port Moresby. Fifty three MP went with him. At that time there were 110 elective members of parliament and the competition was therefore close.[27]

Marape resorted to well known tactics. First, he used an interpretation of the rules of parliament. Namah's motion was accepted with the deputy speaker, Koni Iguan, in charge. He joined the camp in Vanimo.[28] Speaker Job Pomat then overruled the motion by Namah on the grounds that only a Minister is allowed to propose a parliament adjournment, Parliament was recalled and on 17 November -with the opposition absent in Vanimo- the budget for 2021 was passed. Marape argued that it could not wait because it had to function in international negotiations. Job Pomat, the speaker, supported throughout the procedures the Marape government. Parliament was then adjourned until April 2021. Second, the Private Business committee of parliament is crucial to get a vote of no confidence on the agenda. Namah had in his initiative replaced the members of that committee with supporters in the opposition. Marape reversed this and brought his own supporters on the committee in the session of 17 November[29]

Peter O’Neill had fronted with Namah the opposition movement and brought a case before the Supreme Court to declare the budget sitting on 17 November unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled in his favour and the decisions taken then were invalid. The Speaker recalled parliament on 14 December.[30] The most important issue in this meeting was filing a motion of no confidence with the Private Business committee by Belden Namah. The opposition proposed Patrick Pruaitch as alternate Prime Minister. In that session the opposition had support of 55 members as compared to 32[31]

The vote of no confidence was never tabled when parliament reconvened on 16 December, Eighteen MPs crossed the floor from the opposition to the government benches and therefore brought the government's support to 70, a solid majority. Sam Basil, the previous deputy prime minister went back to his old place. The competition for alternate prime ministership between Patrick Pruaitch and Sam Basil had been decided in favour of the former to the dismay of Basil and his followers. They returned in protest to the government benches.[32] It was perceived as an attempt to regain power by the old guard.[33] Marape presented a confident New Year's Message in which he also stressed the generational change in PNG politics. He also said that the old guard had a record in which there was little to be proud of.[34] Marape entered the 2022 elections under the banner of Pangu Party and won 38 of the 115 seats declared. O'Neill's PNC was the runner up with 16 seats. Marape was elected unopposed as Prime Minister. He was as leader of the largest party entitled to form the government and left his cabinet virtually unchanged. His new government was elected unopposed by the new parliament.[35][36]

Personal lifeEdit

James Marape is a member and leader of the Huli people, one of the country's largest tribes and ethnic groups. Marape's father was a Seventh-day Adventist pastor with Marape identifying with the church as well.[37] Marape is married to Rachael Marape, who is originally from East Sepik Province. The couple have six children.[38][39]

On being sworn in, Marape said he wants Papua New Guinea to be "the richest black Christian nation" in the world.[40]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hon. James Marape Available at: http://www.parliament.gov.pg/index.php/tenth-parliament/bio/view/tari-pori-district Posting not dated. Accessed: 10/05/2020
  2. ^ Natalie Whiting, James Marape will be Papua New Guinea's prime minister after an election marred by violence Available at:https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-09/papua-new-guinea-election-results-james-marape-to-govern/101311978 Posted on: 10/8/22 Accessed on: 31/8/22
  3. ^ Hon. James Marape Available at: http://www.parliament.gov.pg/index.php/tenth-parliament/bio/view/tari-pori-district Posting not dated. Accessed: 10/05/2020
  4. ^ The Governments of Papua New Guinea Port Moresby (2012) Port Moresby: IMPS research Available in Australian National Library BibID 1644345
  5. ^ Bunpalau, Wesley. "PPP names 78 for poll". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, 28 March 2002.
  6. ^ Rheeney, Alex. "SHP candidates urged to await new elections". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, 12 August 2002.
  7. ^ "Tomiape wins Tari-Pori seat". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, 5 May 2003.
  8. ^ "Death threat and bashing for election official". New Zealand Herald, 5 May 2003.
  9. ^ "Tari-Pori petition thrown out". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, 25 October 2004.
  10. ^ "Court dismisses bid to re-open petition". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, 3 May 2007.
  11. ^ Marape elected Prime Minister Papua New Guinea Available at: https://news.pngfacts.com/2019/05/marape-elected-prime-minister-of-papua.html Posted on: 25/9/2019 Accessed: 10/05/2020
  12. ^ Marape elected Prime Minister Papua New Guinea Available at: https://news.pngfacts.com/2019/05/marape-elected-prime-minister-of-papua.html Posted on: 25/9/2019 Accessed: 10/05/2020
  13. ^ Freddy Mou, Marape retains seat in Tari Pori http://www.looppng.com/elections/marape-retains-seat-tari-pori-62430 Accessed: 10/05/2020
  14. ^ Sally Pokiton Tari Pori petition dismissed. Available at: http://www.looppng.com/png-news/tari-pori-petition-dismissed-79114 Posted on: 24/08/2019 Accessed: 10/05/2020
  15. ^ Hon. James Marape Available at: http://www.parliament.gov.pg/index.php/tenth-parliament/bio/view/tari-pori-district Posting not dated. Accessed: 10/05/2020
  16. ^ "James Marape resigns as finance minister". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier. 11 April 2019. Archived from the original on 29 May 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  17. ^ "Basil replaces Marape as new Finance Minister". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier. 18 April 2019. Archived from the original on 29 May 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  18. ^ https://asiapacificreport.nz/2019/05/17/png-leadership-rivals-oneill-marape-both-implicated-in-ubs-loan-saga/ Posted on: 17/05/2019 Accessed: 10/05/2020
  19. ^ PNG leadership rivals O’Neill, Marape both implicated in UBS loan saga.Available at: https://asiapacificreport.nz/2019/05/17/png-leadership-rivals-oneill-marape-both-implicated-in-ubs-loan-saga/ Posted on: 17/05/2019 Accessed: 10/05/2020
  20. ^ Miriam Zarriga, Opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch is the Laguna Camp’s alternate Prime Minister nominee Available at: https://postcourier.com.pg/pruaitch-alternate-pm/ Poster on: 29/05/2020 Accessed: 10/05/2020
  21. ^ Kate Lyons, Papua New Guinea’s prime minister Peter O'Neill resigns Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/26/papua-new-guineas-prime-minister-peter-oneill-resigns \ Posted on: 26/05/2019 Accessed: 10/05/2020
  22. ^ PNG Breaking News: Marape rejoins Peter O'Neil with 28 MPSAvailable at: https://www.facebook.com/pngbreakingnews/posts/2122420501199890? Posted on: 28/052019 Retrieved 27/04/2020 Accessed: 10/05/2020
  23. ^ Grace Amuka-Salman, James Marape was sworn in as 8th Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. Yesterday at Government House by Governor General Bob Dadae Available at: https://postcourier.com.pg/marape-sworn-countrys-8th-pm/ Posted on: 30/05/2019 Accessed: 10/05/2020
  24. ^ Bernard Yegiora PNGs confusing budget debate available at: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/pngs-confusing-budget-debate Posted on 10/10/2019 Accessed on: 10/05/2020
  25. ^ Rebecca Kuku and Ben Doherty, Papua New Guinea stands by for new government after MPs abandon James Marape Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/13/papua-new-guinea-stands-by-for-new-government-after-mps-abandon-james-marape Posted on: 13/11/2020 Accessed on: 15/2/2021
  26. ^ Available at: Opposition successfully moves to adjourn parliament to 1 December https://postcourier.com.pg/opposition-successfully-moves-to-adjourn-parliament-to-december-1/ Posted on: 13/11/2020 Accessed on: 15/2/2021
  27. ^ List of parties and MPs as of 16 November 2020 Available at: https://postcourier.com.pg/list-of-parties-and-mps-as-of-141120/ Posted on: 14/11/2020 Accessed on: 15/2/2021
  28. ^ Jeffrey Elapa, What transpired in the house Available at: https://postcourier.com.pg/what-transpired-in-the-house/ Posted on 16/11/2020 Accessed on: 15/2/2021
  29. ^ Parliament passes budget bills in lightning session, then adjourns until April 2021 Available at: https://www.businessadvantagepng.com/breaking-news-parliament-passes-budget-bilsl-is-lightning-session-then-adjourns-until-april-2021/ Posted on: 18/11//2020
  30. ^ Second, the Private Business committee of parliament is crucial to get a vote of no confidence on the agenda. Namah had in his initiative replaced the members of that committee with supporters in the opposition. Marape reversed this and brought his own supporters on the committee in the session of 17 November
  31. ^ Motion of no confidence against prime minister; Patrick Pruaiich as alternate prime minister https://www.thenational.com.pg/showdown-3/ Posted on 15/12/2020. Accessed on: 15/2/2021
  32. ^ Marape holds to power in PNG’s game of musical chairs Available at: https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/432983/marape-holds-on-to-power-in-png-s-game-of-political-musical-chairs Posted on: 16/12/2020. Accessed on: 15/2/2021
  33. ^ Street Buzz: Old guards fading in the horizon Available at: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=111086040705235&story_fbid=172518521228653 Posted on: 16/12/2021 Accessed on: 15/2/2021
  34. ^ James Marape,Seasonal Christian greetings to you Papua New Guneans https://covid19.info.gov.pg/index.php/2021/01/02/new-year-message-by-prime-minister-hon-james-marape-mp-30-december-2020/ Posted on: 2/1/202 Accessed on: 15/2/2021
  35. ^ PNG election: Pangu leads, PNC jolted Available at: https://islandsbusiness.com/news-break/png-election-pangu-leads-pnc-jolted/ Posted on: 4/8/22 Accessed on: 31/8/2
  36. ^ PM names 33 member cabinet Available at: https://www.thenational.com.pg/pm-names-33-member-cabinet/ Posted on 24/8/22 Accessed on: 31/8/22
  37. ^ Stefan Armbruster, Who is James Marape, 8th pm of PNG? Available at: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/who-is-james-marape-8th-pm-of-png Posted on: 31/05/2019 Accessed on: 10/05/2020
  38. ^ Miriam Zarriga, First lady Rachel steps into focus Available at: https://postcourier.com.pg/first-lady-rachael-steps-focus/ Posted on: 30/05/2019 Accessed on: 10/05/2020
  39. ^ Helen Tarawa, Marape’s wife vows to support her husbandAvailable at: https://www.thenational.com.pg/marapes-wife-vows-to-support-husband/ Posted on: 31/05/2019 Accessed on:10/05/2020
  40. ^ "Papua New Guinea sets audacious goal to become 'richest black Christian nation". The National. Retrieved 15 July 2019.

External linksEdit

National Parliament of Papua New Guinea
Preceded by
Tom Tomiape
Member of the National Parliament
for the Tari-Pori District

2007–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Finance
2012–2019
Succeeded by
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
2019–present
Incumbent