3rd Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
Date of Birth : 2 February 1951
Place of Birth : Moika Village, near Mt Hagen, Western Highlands Province
Occupation : Member of Parliament; current Governor for Western Highlands Province. Founder and Leader of the People’s Democratic Movement Party (PDM)
- Mr Wingti did not go to school until at the age of 10, but was later educated at Mount Hagen High School.
- He was enrolled at the University of Papua New Guinea in 1974, and first visited Australia as an Australian Union of Students delegate for the UPNG Student Representative Council.
- While doing his final year in Economics at university, he contested the 1977 elections and won the Hagen Open Seat, joining Michael Somare’s Pangu Party.
- He served as Minister for Civil Aviation from 1978 until the defeat of the first Somare Government in 1980, and when Somare returned to power in 1982, became Deputy Prime Minister.
- He split with the Pangu Party in 1985 and formed the People’s Democratic Movement, becoming Leader of the Opposition.
- In November 1985, he moved a successful no-confidence vote against the Somare Government and became the third Prime Minister, aged 34. Julius Chan, the second Prime Minister, served as Mr Wingti's Deputy. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1987.
- He remained in power after the 1987 election after corralling a slender majority of three votes. He announced a more independent foreign policy, attempting to enhance relations with the Soviet Union, US, Japan and China.
- He lost a motion of confidence in July 1988 with changes in the shifting coalition and was succeeded by Rabbie Namaliu, the new leader of the Pangu Party, but Mr 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. Mr Wingti continued to represent the Western Highlands in Parliament although he switched from the local Hagen constituency to the provincial-level electorate in 1995.
- He 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 Fr 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. Mr Wingti lost the governorship of West Highlands Province to Mr 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'Neill to be retained as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea at Parliament House on August 3, 2012.
Paias Wingti – In Office as the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea: