Papua New Guinea
An unpublished study by the United Nations Population Fund suggested Papua New Guinea’s population may be twice the official number of 9.4 million. Prime Minister James Marape suggested the number was more likely between 9 and 11 million but did not know the precise size of the population. Experts quoted in media reports were not convinced the UN figure was accurate but agreed that a new census was needed to ensure that millions of citizens were not being denied access to key services or the right to vote. The country’s next census is scheduled for 2024.
James Marape was reelected as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea in an election that did not significantly improve on previous elections’ struggles with violence and electoral management. Outdated voter rolls disenfranchised as many as one million voters and there were about 50 election-related deaths. However, the election was less violent than 2017, when roughly 200 died in election-related violence. The incoming government will need to address the underlying causes of the country’s electoral chaos, which observers attribute to under-investment in public services and deeply rooted patriarchal political traditions.