WP 2022/02 Papua New Guinea’s 2022 Electoral Boundaries Redistribution
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Papua New Guinea’s 2022 Electoral Boundaries Redistribution
The Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC) of Papua New Guinea recently completed another redistribution, but the changes have limited relationship to the actual population imbalances and do little to resolve the severe malapportionment that tilts the balance of power towards some parts of Papua New Guinea over others. The redistribution was passed through parliament in March 2022, just months out from the June election, with little time to implement changes before votes are cast. Electorates are theoretically distributed on the basis of one person, one vote, but this assumes that each open electorate has roughly the same population. Population trends shift over time, with some areas growing faster than others, and other areas experiencing slower growth, or even a decline in population. These effects add up over time, to the point where some members of parliament represent far fewer voters than others. This phenomenon is known as ‘malapportionment’, where the share of seats in parliament allocated to one part of a country is significantly out of proportion with that part’s share of the population.The provincial seats are designed to give a seat to every province, regardless of population, so are not considered in calculations of electoral fairness. Instead, the focus in this Working Paper is on the level of malapportionment in the open seats, and the attempts to change that.