Paias Wingti

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Paias Wingti (born 2 February 1951) is a Papua New Guinean political figure. He served as the third Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea between 1985 and 1988, and again from 1992 to 1994.

Wingti is a member of the Jika Tribe of the Western Highlands province. While doing his final year in Economics at the University of Papua New Guinea, he stood for election in 1977, winning to become a member of the Hagen Open in the country's National Parliament. In 1985, as leader of the People's Democratic Movement (which had broken away from the Pangu Party), he became the youngest Prime Minister in the Commonwealth when Michael Somare lost a confidence vote. Julius Chan, who would himself become Prime Minister, served as his deputy. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1987.

In 1987 Wingti returned to power with a slender majority of three votes. He announced a more independent foreign policy, attempting to enhance relations with the Soviet Union, U.S., Japan and China. He lost a motion of confidence in 1988 with changes in the shifting coalition and was succeeded by Rabbie Namaliu, the new leader of the Pangu Party, but Wingti returned for a further two-year stint in 1992. His second term was marked by an escalation of unrest in Bougainville and he was ousted by Julius Chan in August 1994. Wingti continued to represent the Western Highlands in the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea, although he switched from the local Hagen constituency to the provincial-level electorate in 1995.

Wingti served as the governor of Western Highlands Province from 1995 to 1997, when he was defeated for re-election by Father Robert Lak. He returned to parliament in 2002, defeating Lak to regain his seat and the governorship. He subsequently won back the leadership of the People's Democratic Movement from Mekere Morauta, who had taken over after his defeat, in 2007. However, he was defeated in his bid for re-election at the 2007 election, losing to former student activist Tom Olga, largely as a result of the new preferential voting system.[1]. Wingti, along with fellow former Prime Minister Rabbie Namaliu, were the most high-profile losers of the election. Additionally, Wingti lost the governorship of West Highlands Province to Olga. The PDM also suffered a major defeat in the election, losing several seats. He nominated to contest the July 2012 general elections and defeated Tom Olga by 112640 votes to 89195, a difference of 23445 votes and elected Governor of Western Highlands Province. He was one of the three former Prime Ministers who backed Peter O'Neil to be retained as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea at Parliament House on August 3, 2012.

Preceded by
Sir Michael Somare
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
1985–1988
Succeeded by
Sir Rabbie Namaliu
Preceded by
Sir Rabbie Namaliu
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
1992–1994
Succeeded by
Sir Julius Chan