PNG women sidelined by candidate fee hike

6:59 pm on 13 December 2016

A hike in fees for election candidates means fewer women will be able to contest next year's Papua New Guinea polls, according to the opposition leader.

Woman at election rally, East Sepik, PNG.

Woman at election rally, East Sepik, PNG. Photo: RNZI/Johnny Blades

The government plans to increase the basic nomination fee for the mid-2017 elections from $US300 to $US3000, or $10,000 kina.

Opposition leader, Don Polye said such policies are making it far more difficult for parties with less resources than those in government to endorse good candidates in the interests of PNG's democracy.

His own Triumph Heritage Empowerment party came out of the last elections in 2012 with the second biggest number of MPs.

However a number of his MPs subsequently defected to the People's National Congress party of prime minister Peter O'Neill.

"Out of the three women that were elected, two of the were endorsed by my party, and they've also joined up with the People's National Congress, so that ten thousand kina nomination fee will really make it very difficult for me to endorse more women, more people who are capable, quality leaders, to contest the elections."

Mr Polye said he is still looking for capable women candidates, because he strongly believes there is a need for a better gender balance on the floor of parliament.

There are only three female MPs in PNG's 111-seat house.

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