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 held Cabinet Posts as Minister of Education (2008–2011) and Minister of Finance (2012–2019).[1]

James Marape

Marape 190614 Haus Lotu (2) (cropped).jpg
Marape in June 2019
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
Assumed office
30 May 2019
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor GeneralSir Bob Dadae
DeputyDavis Steven (2019-2020)
Sam Basil (Oct-Nov 2020)
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
Preceded byTom Tomiape
ConstituencyTari-Pori District
Personal details
Born (1971-04-24) 24 April 1971 (age 49)
Tari, Southern Highlands Province, Territory of Papua and New Guinea
(Now Hela Province, Papua New Guinea)
NationalityPapua New Guinean
Political partyPangu Party (2019–present)
Other political
People's National Congress (2012–2019)
National Alliance Party (2007)
People's Progress Party (2002)
Spouse(s)Rachael Marape
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.[2]

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 honors degree, he became Acting Assistant Secretary of Policy with the Department of Personnel Management from 2001 to 2006.[3]

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.[4][5] 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.[6][7] He challenged the result in the Court of Disputed Returns, but both his initial petition and a subsequent appeal were rejected.[8][9][10] He contested the seat for a second time at the 2007 election and defeated Tomiape. [11] 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. [12] A challenge by the second runner up Justin Haiara was dismissed by the National Court.[13]

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.[14]

On 11 April 2019, he resigned as Minister of Finance but remained a member of People's National Congress and the Government.[15] However, he resigned from the party on 29 April 2019. Sam Basil was appointed as Minister for Finance on 18 April 2019.[16]

Ministerial successionEdit

He resigned from PNC soon after his resignation as Cabinet Minister. Marape joined the MPs plotting a vote of no confidence in the O'Neill government. He was elected as alternate Prime Minister on 7th of May 2019. [17]On the 17th of 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.[17] That was mentioned as the reason for Marape's replacement as alternate MP by Patrick Pruaitch on 28 of May 2019. Marape introduced Patrick Pruaitch as alternate MP and declared that the vote for Pruaitch was by consensus.[18] Peter O’Neill had then resigned as Prime Minister on 26th of May.[19] However, Marape and not Pruaitch emerged from the succession struggle. Marape and 26 opposition MPs that had belonged to PNC returned to the PNC. As a result, the opposition did not have the numbers anymore for a vote of no confidence. [20] The resignation of O'Neill necessitated the election of a new Prime Minister. Marape obtained in these subsequent election with 101 votes against 8 for Mekere Morauta.[21] O'Neill expected that his Cabinet would continue as usual with him as parliamentary leader instead of Prime Minister. However, Marape appointed people who had opposed the O'Neill/Able government. After a few months, Marape clashed with O'Neill and directed him to the opposition benches,[22] Marape had joined Pangu Party before he rejoined PNC. In August 2019, he accepted the leadership of Pangu Party.[23]In a Cabinet reshuffle on 8th of 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]

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.[25] Marape is married to Rachael Marape, who is originally from East Sepik Province. The couple have six children.[26][27]

On being sworn in, Marape said he wants Papua New Guinea to be "the richest black Christian nation" in the world.[28]


  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. ^ 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
  3. ^ The Governments of Papua New Guinea Port Moresby (2012) Port Moresby: IMPS research Available in Australian National Library BibID 1644345
  4. ^ Bunpalau, Wesley. "PPP names 78 for poll". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, March 28, 2002.
  5. ^ Rheeney, Alex. "SHP candidates urged to await new elections". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, August 12, 2002.
  6. ^ "Tomiape wins Tari-Pori seat". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, May 5, 2003.
  7. ^ "Death threat and bashing for election official". New Zealand Herald, May 5, 2003.
  8. ^ "Tari-Pori petition thrown out". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, October 25, 2004.
  9. ^ "Court dismisses bid to re-open petition". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, May 3, 2007.
  10. ^ 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
  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. ^ Freddy Mou, Marape retains seat in Tari Pori http://www.looppng.com/elections/marape-retains-seat-tari-pori-62430 Accessed: 10/05/2020
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ "James Marape resigns as finance minister". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier. 2019-04-11. Archived from the original on 2019-05-29. Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  16. ^ "Basil replaces Marape as new Finance Minister". Papua New Guinea Post-Courier. 2019-04-18. Archived from the original on 2019-05-29. Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  17. ^ a b 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
  18. ^ 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
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ 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
  21. ^ 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
  22. ^ Rebecca Kuku and Helen Tarawa, PM’s Axe aimed at Peter O’Neill Available at: https://www.thenational.com.pg/marape-v-oneill/ Posted on: 30/08/2019 Accessed on: 10/05/2020
  23. ^ PNG’s pm assumes leadership of Pangu Pati Available at: https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/400779/png-s-pm-assumes-leadership-of-pangu-pati Posted on: 11/10/2019 Accessed on: 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. ^ 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
  26. ^ 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
  27. ^ 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
  28. ^ "Papua New Guinea sets audacious goal to become 'richest black Christian nation". The National. Retrieved 2019-07-15.
Government offices
Preceded by
Peter O'Neill
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea