7 Aug 2007

Final vote counting sees PNG's Wingti lose seat

3:37 pm on 7 August 2007

A former Papua New Guinea prime minister, Paias Wingti, has been unseated as a national MP and Western Highlands governor in a surprise last result of the country's elections.

The newspaper, The National, reports that a former university student activist and independent candidate, Tom Olga, polled just over 141,000 votes, picking up more preference votes than Mr Wingti in the final stage of counting to beat him by 3,300 votes,.

Mr Wingti, who is the leader of the People's Democratic Movement, was prime minister three times between 1985 and 1994 and the first Highlander to hold the nation's top post.

He had been leading in the seat from the outset but when counting resumed yesterday after a court-ordered suspension, Mr Wingti picked up less than half the preference votes Mr Olga did.

Mr Wingti lost the seat before in 1997 but won it back in 2002.

His party won five seats in last month's election.