PNG MP-elect says he is still an independent

5:58 pm on 17 July 2017

The first independent candidate to be elected in Papua New Guinea's national election says he is still an independent.

This was despite reports that Petrus Thomas had joined forces with the ruling People's National Congress after being declared winner of the Koroba Kopiagao seat at the weekend.

Mr Thomas, a former rugby league player who had a previous stint in parliament for this seat, has known business links to the PNC, a spokesman for whom said the candidate was joining forces with it.

Voters at polling in Timini, Morobe Province.

Voters at polling in Timini, Morobe Province. Photo: RNZI/ Johnny Blades

Supporting this notion, a photo emerged on Facebook of Mr Thomas celebrating his win with PNC leader and prime minister of PNG Peter O'Neill and another victorious PNC candidate James Marape.

However Mr Thomas has since spoken to local media and knocked back the suggestion that he had joined the PNC.

He said he stood in the election as an independent candidate and would remain an independent.

PNG voters must dip a finger into indelible ink before voting, an effort to ensure they don't vote twice.

PNG voters must dip a finger into indelible ink before voting, an effort to ensure they don't vote twice. Photo: RNZI/ Johnny Blades

But Mr Thomas indicated he would monitor the formation of government and look to be part of that coalition.

This comes as leading opposition politicians warned newly elected independent candidates not to be lured by financial inducements in the formation of the next government.

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