Port Moresby—The party of Papua New Guinea’s prime minister was asked Monday to form a new government after snaring more seats than its rivals in violence-scarred national elections.
Prime Minister James Marape’s party has won 36 seats so far in the Pacific island nation’s 111-seat parliament and will need allies to cobble together a coalition.
Voting ended on Friday, but the count is still underway in some seats in the mountainous, forest-blanketed country, which is rich in resources but suffers from widespread poverty.
Governor General Bob Dadae, who represents the head of state Queen Elizabeth, invited Marape’s Pangu Pati to form government in an official ceremony, saying it had won more seats than any other single party so far.
About 10,000 police, army, and corrections services personnel were mobilized for the vote.
In one politically motivated attack on July 26, a machete-wielding gang chased down two victims outside a counting center, leaving one with a traumatic brain injury and another with an injured limb.
Commonwealth election observers condemned the violence in an interim report. They called for an “urgent review” of the voting process, citing missing names from the electoral roll and multiple allegations of bribery.
Parliament is scheduled to sit Tuesday for the first time since the protracted election began on July 4.
In an ethnically diverse country with more than 800 languages, voters traditionally focus on the material benefits candidates can bring to their communities.