6 Jun 2002

Political scientist says PNG election is critical for the country

5:10 pm on 6 June 2002

A political scientist in Papua New Guinea says this month's national election will make or break the country.

Dr Henry Okole of the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby says there is low public interest in the election so far.

Dr Okole attributes this to a growing distrust of politicians, and a weariness resulting from what he calls the appalling quality of governance.

He still expects a turn out of up to 75 percent, but says much of this will be protest votes.

Dr Okole says there is a pervasive view that successive governments have run PNG into the ground.

"People know that we cannot go any lower than this and politicians if they are really careful with this they know, I think they are testing the patience of the people"