What has limited preferential voting changed in Papua New Guinea?

Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper No. 101

36 Pages Posted: 19 May 2022

See all articles by Terence Wood

Terence Wood

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Maholopa Laveil

University of Papua New Guinea

Michael Kabuni

Australian National University (ANU) - Department of Pacific Affairs

Date Written: May 17, 2022

Abstract

Limited preferential voting (LPV) replaced first past the post in the wake of the 2002 general elections in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The change was the source of high hopes of better electoral quality and political governance, particularly among policymakers, civil society and the international community. Among academic observers, the shift brought debate, with proponents and opponents disagreeing about whether something as simple as a change in electoral rules could overcome serious political problems. Twenty years on and three LPV general elections later, we take the opportunity to examine LPV’s impact on electoral processes and outcomes, as well as governance more generally, in PNG. We find no evidence of large changes — either positive or negative — stemming from the shift in electoral systems. However, we do find some evidence of smaller benefits and costs, as well as tantalising hints of possible future potential. LPV has failed to deliver as was hoped, yet it has brought some change, and there remains a case for keeping the system in PNG.

Keywords: Papua New Guinea (PNG), elections, limited preferential voting, political governance, electoral violence, female candidates, electoral costs

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Wood, Terence and Laveil, Maholopa and Kabuni, Michael, What has limited preferential voting changed in Papua New Guinea? (May 17, 2022). Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper No. 101, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4111877 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4111877

Terence Wood (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

7 Liversidge Street
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory ACT 0200
Australia

Maholopa Laveil

University of Papua New Guinea ( email )

P.O. Box 320, University Post Office
National Capital District
Papua
Guinea

Michael Kabuni

Australian National University (ANU) - Department of Pacific Affairs

ACTON, ACT
Australia

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