Former finance minister James Marape was elected prime minister of Papua New Guinea on Thursday (May 30), and has vowed to review management of the nation’s resource riches.

Mr Marape received 101 votes to eight in Parliament in the capital, Port Moresby, a day after Mr Peter O’Neill resigned, having lost the support of the House after almost eight years in power.

Mr Marape, the critic of a major global gas development deal who hails from the poor but gas-rich highlands of the South Pacific nation, said he would focus on “taking back our economy” and proposed an overhaul of mining, forestry and fishing laws.

“We will look into maximising gain from what God has given this country from our natural resources,” he said in his maiden address to Parliament.

“I have every right to tweak and turn resource laws for my country, then it will empower my citizens as well,” he told the chamber to cheers and applause.

Political instability is not unusual in the poor but resource-rich country, but Mr Marape’s resignation from Cabinet in April tapped growing concern over governance and resource benefits not reaching the poor.

Tags: