Big Men Behaving Badly

Like politicians everywhere, Papua New Guinean M.P.s are programmed to plot. Eighteen months after a national election, a new government loses its immunity from votes of no confidence - and disgruntled M.P.s on both sides of Parliament start conspiring to unseat it. Of 11 governments since Independence in 1975, only six have been elected. Five won power through no-confidence votes or the threat of them; none has lasted a full five-year term. "Abusing the 18-month grace period is like a disease in P.N.G. politics," says Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare. "Those who feel they've missed out always try to maneuver and...

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