I was informed when the same question was put to Prime Minister Peter O'Neill he responded more than 50.
On 21st April 2017 I published part 2 of an article "Will Peter O'Neill return as PM"
Where I explained that PNC were likely to return upto 15 to 20 of the 53 sitting Members of Parliament following the elections.
"This will be largely due to those members winning on their own popularity and having actually delivered some form of services to their electorates. Add to this the fact they will also be heavily financed by their party (PNC)"
"There will also be some PNC members who may retain their seat relying on wide scale bribery and vote rigging."
You may click on the link below to read full the article.
So far two PNC candidates have been returned are the Members for Moresby South Open Justin Tkatchenko and Tari-Pori Open James Marape.
Now I expected both to retain their seats including Peter O'Neill. However the key issue has and will always will be whether Peter O'Neill will be returned as Prime Minister and this will very much depend on how many sitting members of his own PNC party are returned following the 2017 General Elections.
O'Neill is confident upto 50 so is he correct or disconnected from reality.
Lets run the numbers and see how they stack up.
O'Neill's People's National Congress Party endorsed 93 candidates to contest 2017 Elections, 56 of which are sitting Members of Parliament.
So where do these Members come from?
Highlands Region (25)
Southern Region (15)
Momase Region (8)
New Guinea Islands (8)
25 MPs from the Highlands Region include:
1. Peter O'NEILL - Ialibu-Pangia Open (SHP)
2. Wililam POWI - Southern Highlands Provincial (SHP)
3. Francis AWESA - Imbonggu Open (SHP)
4. Jeffrey KOMAL - Nipa-Kutubu Open (SHP)
5. De KEWANU - Mendi Open (SHP)
6. James LAGEA - Kagua-Erave Open (SHP)
7. Philip UNDALI Philip - Hela Provincial (HELA)
8. James MARAPE, James - Tari Open(HELA)
9. Peter IPATAS - Enga Provincial (ENGA)
10. John PUNDARI - Kompiam-Ambum Open (ENGA)
11. Robert GANIM - Wabag Open (ENGA)
12. Noah KOOL - Simbu Provincial (SIMBU)
13. Tobias KULANG - Kunidawa-Gembog Open (SIMBU)
14. Nick KUMAN - Gumine Open (SIMBU)
15. Mogerema WEI - Karimui-Nomane Open (SIMBU)
16. Wera MORI - Chuave Open (SIMBU)
17. Koi TRAPE - Baiyer-Mul Open (WHP)
18. Westly NUKUNDJ - Dei Open (WHP)
19. Benjamin POPONAWA - Tambul-Nebilyer Open (WHP)
20. Julie SOSO - Eastern Highlands Provincial (EHP)
21. Benny ALLAN - Unggai-Bena Open (EHP)
22. Issac WAIGAVARA - Okapa Open (EHP)
23. Jeffrey KUAVE - Lufa Open (EHP)
24. Robert ATIYAFA - Henganofi Open(EHP)
25. Ron GANARAFO - Daulo Open (EHP)
By Highlands Provinces:
Southern Highlands (6/6 Seats)
Hela (2/4)
Enga (3/6)
Simbu (5/7)
Western Highlands (3/5)
Eastern Highlands (6/9)
15 MPs from Southern Region include:
1. Justin TKATCHENKO - Moresby South Open (NCD)
2. Michael MALABAG - Moresby North-West Open (NCD)
3. Labi AMAIU Labi - Moresby North-East Open (NCD)
4. Kila HAODA - Central Provincial (CEN)
5. Ano PALA - Rigo Open (CEN)
6. Puka TEMU - Abua Open (CEN)
7. Charles ABEL - Alotau Open (MBP)
8. Gordon WESLEY - Samarai-Murua Open (MBP)
9. Steven DAVIS - Esa'ala Open (MBP)
10. Douglas TOMURIESA -Kiriwina-Goodenough Open (MBP)
11. Havila KAVO - Gulf Provincial (GULF)
12. David ARORE - Ijivitari Open (ORO)
13. Dellilah GORE - Sohe Open (ORO)
14. Roy BIYAMA - Middle Fly Open (WESTERN)
15. Buka KONDRA - North Fly Open-(WESTERN)
By Southern Provinces:
National Capital District (3/4)
Central (3/5)
Milne Bay (4/5)
Gulf (1/3)
Oro (2/3)
Western (2/4)
8 MPs from Momase Region include:
1. Solan MIRISIM - Telefomin Open (WSP)
2. Richard MARU - Yangoru-Saussia Open (ESP)
3. Nixon DUBAN - Madang Open (MAG)
4. Paul ISIKIEL - Markam Open (MOR)
5. Gisuwat SINIWIN - Nawae Open (MOR)
6. Mao ZEMING - Tewae-Siassi Open (MOR)
7. Theo ZURENUOC - Finchafen Open (MOR)
8. Benjamin PHILIP - Menyama Open (MOR)
By Momase Provinces:
West Sepik (1/4)
East Sepik (1/5)
Madang (1/7)
Morobe (5/10)
The 8 from New Guinea Islands include:
1. Charlie BENJAMI - Manus Provincial (MANUS)
2. Sasindran MUTHUVEL - West New Britian (WNB)
3. Francis MARUS - Talasea Open (WNB)
4. Leo DION - East New Britain Provincial-(ENB)
5. Ereman TOBAINING -Kokopo Open (ENB)
6. Elias KAPAVORE -Pomio Open (ENB)
7. Jimmy MIRINGTORO - Central Bougainville Open (BGP)
8. Lauta ATOI - North Bouganville Open (BGP)
It is important to note that out of 56 Members only 27 contested under PNC in 2012 Elections - 29 are contesting for the first time under PNC a party that has fallen out of popularity with the public and whose party leader is facing multiple criminal charges.
Based on the above numbers PNC core is in the highlands region namely Southern and Eastern Highlands Provinces followed by Southern Region.
I expect PNC to lose significant numbers in the coastal regions of PNG including Simbu and Easten Highlands provinces where the voter population are more informed on national issues and not subjected to money, gun and tribal politics that is played out in most areas of the highlands.
Before I name which 15-20 of 56 PNC Members I expect to be re-elected.
Lets first discuss the reasoning in understanding whether a sitting member is expected to return his seat or not.
Every sitting member is expected to lead in their respective primary votes. The reasoning behind this view is that having held office for 5 years and expended K50 million over the same period they will have established a base of loyal supporters.
A sitting member who has preformed extremely well will command a strong lead on his primary vote. This lead should ensure they retain their seat as was the case for Moresby South.
It will be the opposite for those members who have failed to deliver during their term in office.
While they may end up ahead in the primary vote the lead will be small.
Whether they win or not will come down to the preference votes and due to the fact the other candidates will keep their preferences (2's and 3's) away from the sitting member he/she is expected to lose their seat in the end.
You will know for certain a sitting member has already lost their seat where they are trailing in the primary (1's) vote after counting their base vote area.
Case in point being sitting Member for Moresby North West, Michael Malabag.
After count 57 Malabag is trailing in 6th place on 1,468. At the same count in 2012 Elections Malabag was in second place on 2,816.
There are some 55 boxes left to count where Malabag only polled 1,663 primary votes in the last election at the height of his popularity.
Based on current trends he may finish in 4th or 5th place on primary votes confirming he will in fact lose his seat.
While some may believe he still has the chance to win from the preference votes the reality being the sitting member preference vote will typically be kept from you.
Right now Lohia Samuel a prominent businessman and respected community leader from Hanubada is leading on 4,608 votes followed by former Member Sir Mekere Morauta on 4,516 - a difference of only 87 votes.
In my next article I will name which PNC members I expect to retain their seat and those that are certain to lose.


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