Mekere Morauta

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Sir Mekere Morauta, KCMG (born 12 June 1946)[1] is a Papua New Guinean economist and political figure. He served as the sixth Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea between 1999 and 2002, and later as Leader of the Opposition, among other positions. In May 2012 he announced that, after twenty years in Parliament, he would not stand for re-election in the forthcoming general election, and so left the Parliament in June 2012.[2][3][4]

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).

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.[5] 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.

Sir Mekere entered the national parliament in July 1997 as the member for Moresby North-West, and became Prime Minister in July 1999. Under Morauta's leadership between 1999 and 2002 the government embarked on an ambitious program of economic and institutional reform designed to promote good governance, tackle corruption, strengthen the institutions of state, and restore economic stability. Major reforms included the privatization of several major state-owned enterprises which were on the brink of bankruptcy; the introduction of legislation to strengthen the independence of the central bank; and electoral reforms (including the "Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates") which were designed to promote political stability and policy continuity by strengthening the party system and giving incumbent governments further protection from votes of no confidence. (PNG has a fractious political system. Since independence no party has ever held a majority in parliament, and there have been frequent changes in government between elections, often as a result of votes of no confidence. In the two electoral terms during which the Organic Law operated---2002-2007 and 2007-2012---both governments served their full term.)

During student protests against the privatizations in 2001, three students were shot dead by police. At a meeting with the parents of the dead students, Sir Mekere described the events as "the blackest day in our nation's history".[6]

During his time as Prime Minister, between 1999 and 2002, Morauta was leader of the People's Democratic Movement (PDM). However, after Michael Somare took over as Prime Minister at the 2002 general elections, PDM split into two groups. The original leader of PDM, Paias Wingti (another former Prime Minister) became party leader again, and Morauta left to form his own party, the Papua New Guinea Party.

Morauta was re-elected to parliament in the 2007 general election.[7] He backed Julius Chan for the position of Prime Minister after the election,[8] but Michael Somare was re-elected as Prime Minister in parliament on 13 August,[9] and Morauta became Opposition Leader a few days later.[10]

In August 2011 Peter O'Neill became Prime Minister after a successful 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.[11]

In 1990 Morauta was made a Knight Bachelor.[12] He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours.[13][14]

Sir Mekere is married to Lady Roslyn Morauta, an Australian, and has two sons from a previous marriage.

References[edit]

  1. ^ International Who's Who 2004
  2. ^ "Former PNG PM Sir Mekere Morauta retiring from politics", Radio Australia, 9 May 2012
  3. ^ "Morauta will not contest election", The National, 9 May 2012
  4. ^ "Sir Mekere calls it a day", Post-Courier, 9 May 2012
  5. ^ "Man for a Hard Season", Time Magazine, 26 July 1999.
  6. ^ Mary Louise O'Callaghan, "Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Mekere Still Strong", The Australian, 3 July 2001.
  7. ^ "Former PM Morauta retains seat in PNG poll", ABC Radio Australia, 20 July 2007.
  8. ^ "Chan nominee for PNG prime ministership". Radio New Zealand International. 2 August 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Michael Somare wins second term Papua New Guinea's prime minister", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 13 August 2007.
  10. ^ "Sir Mekere Morauta named Opposition Leader in PNG". Radio New Zealand International. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Cabinet of Papua New Guinea, CIA Factbook, 18 August 2011
  12. ^ Curriculum vitae of Rt. Hon. Sir Mekere Morauta - Website of The National Capital District Commission (NCDC).
  13. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59093. p. 1. 13 June 2009.
  14. ^ "Honours: Commonwealth". The Independent (London). 12 June 2009. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bill Skate
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
1999–2002
Succeeded by
Sir Michael Somare