Sir Mekere Morauta, KCMG (born 12 June 1946) is a Papua New Guinean political figure. He served as the sixth Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea between 1999 and 2002, and later as Leader of the Opposition. He was until recently the Chairman of the National Capital District Commission, and served as Minister for Public Enterprises under Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. In May 2012, he announced that, after twenty years in Parliament, he would not stand for re-election in the general election in June, and was putting an end to his political career.
Sir Mekere was born in 1946 in Kukipi, a coastal village east of Kerema in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea. Educated at local primary schools and at Kerema High and Sogeri National High, he went on to study at the University of Papua New Guinea, where he obtained a Bachelor of Economics in 1970, and as an exchange student at Flinders University in South Australia.
After graduating from university he worked as an economist in both the public and private sectors. In 1975 he was the first Papua New Guinean to be appointed Secretary of the Department of Finance, a position which he held until 1982. Other positions he has held include Managing Director of the government's commercial bank, the Papua New Guinea Banking Corporation (1983–1992), and Governor of the Reserve Bank of Papua New Guinea (1992–1996). He entered the national parliament in July 1997 as the member for Moresby North-West.
In 1990, Morauta was knighted as Knight Bachelor. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.
Sir Mekere was a member of the so-called "Gang of Four", a group of influential young civil service chiefs who played a leading role in holding together public administration and public policy in the formative decade or so after Papua New Guinea's independence in 1975. The other members of the group were Charles Lepani, Sir Rabbie Namaliu and Sir Anthony Siaguru. Namaliu also later went on to become Prime Minister.
During his premiership from 1999 to 2002, Morauta privatised state-owned enterprises, which led to protests, notably from NGOs and students, during which several students "lost their lives". When asked, a decade later, whether he had any regrets, Morauta stated "I have absolutely no regrets", describing the students in question as "stupid and ignorant" and "manipulated".
Morauta was re-elected to parliament in the 2007 general election. He backed Julius Chan for the position of Prime Minister after the election, but Michael Somare was re-elected as Prime Minister in parliament on 13 August, and Morauta became Opposition Leader a few days later.
In August 2011, Peter O'Neill became Prime Minister in the wake of a parliamentary motion of no confidence in the government of Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal (standing in for Somare while the latter was hospitalised for a heart condition). O'Neill appointed Sir Mekere as his Minister for Public Enterprises.
During his time as prime minister, Morauta was leader of the People's Democratic Movement. However, after Somare became prime minister in 2002, the PDM experienced internal disputes. The original party leader, Paias Wingti (another former prime minister) became party leader, and Morauta formed his own party, the Papua New Guinea Party, which won 8 seats at the 2007 elections. The Papua New Guinea Party is currently the second largest party in Parliament, behind Somare's National Alliance.
Sir Mekere is married to Lady Roslyn Morauta, and has two sons from a previous marriage.
- International Who's Who 2004
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- "Morauta will not contest election", The National, 9 May 2012
- "Sir Mekere calls it a day", Post-Courier, 9 May 2012
- Curriculum vitae of Rt. Hon. Sir Mekere Morauta - Website of The National Capital District Commission (NCDC).
- The London Gazette: . 13 June 2009.
- "Honours: Commonwealth". The Independent (London). 12 June 2009.
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- "Chan nominee for PNG prime ministership". Radio New Zealand International. 2 August 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
- "Michael Somare wins second term Papua New Guinea's prime minister", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 13 August 2007.
- "Sir Mekere Morauta named Opposition Leader in PNG". Radio New Zealand International. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
- Cabinet of Papua New Guinea, CIA Factbook, 18 August 2011
|Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
Sir Michael Somare