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PNG Transport Minister loses seat

Member for Gazelle Open and Papua New Guinea Transport Minister, Malakai Tabar, has been unseated by United Resources Party candidate Jelta Wong.

Wong was declared member-elect at 7pm last night after the 15th elimination.

Wong had been trailing Tabar throughout the primary counts, however, took over the lead after the 14th elimation by 388 votes.

Tabar finished off the race with a total of 8969 votes while Wong finished off with 9357 votes.

From count one to the 14th elimination, Tabar took the lead until the last exclusion.

Counting started last Sunday and ended last night with the declaration of the new member-elect officially declared at Vunakanwau Vuvu Secondary School.

Wong declared that his win is for all the people in Gazelle and not his own as he is ready to bring developments into all parts of Gazelle district.

He announced that his main objective is to move the district forward, and invited all other 16 candidates to feel free and visit him.

Wong was brought up in the Inland Baining area of a Gazelle district and is from a mixed Central and Chinese parentage.

He was the youngest candidate who contested the Gazelle Open seat.

Meanwhile, the People’s National Congress (PNC) Party gained another member in Esa’ala, Milne Bay Province, Monday.

Davis Steven retained his seat and became the first to be declared in the province.

This is a plus for the PNC Party which now leads the national tally with six MPs declared so far. It expects to collect four more seats in Milne Bay Province.

The ruling party is leading in the Milne Bay Regional race in former governor Luke Critin, National Planning Minister Charles Abel in a clear lead for Alotau Open, Douglas Tomuriesa in Kiriwina-Goodenough, taking an early lead until a petition was presented last week stalling his declaration, and Samarai-Murua’s Gordon Wesley taking his top position against PNG Party candidate Isi Leonard and Grassroots United Front’s Henry Larry.

The other PNC members-elect are Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Ialibu-Pangia, Finance Minister James Marape in Tari-Pari, Sports and National Events Minister Justin Tkatchenko in Moresby South, Charlie Benjamin in Manus Regional and Job Pomat in Manus Open.

Davis Steven is a prominent lawyer with a successful record as a barrister in the higher courts until 2012 when he entered Parliament.

He retained his seat up against the Maladina brothers, Jimmy and Moses, polling 10,513 votes while runner-up Jimmy Maladina, an independent, polled 4997 votes and National Alliance’s Misty Baloiloi polled 3956 votes.

Davis Steven is satisfied that in his first term as a Minister for Civil Aviation, he turned a low-profiled ministry into one of the best performing ministries.

“I am overwhelmed by the results and I thank all the people that gave me the mandate for the next five years. I can already foresee a very challenging five years,” he said last night.

“I am humbled by the trust and confidence given to me by my people. I thought they’d be swayed by a new culture of politics, I think people rejected money policies. It is a humble experience,” he said.

Steven said he was ready to step up in national politics and take on many more challenges in the next five years for his people and for Papua New Guinea.


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