Seventh-day Adventist James Marape, 48, was elected as the eighth prime minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the capital city of Port Moresby on May 30, 2019.
His appointment comes after weeks of turmoil that rocked the PNG government and eventually led to the resignation of former prime minister Peter O’Neill.
According to BBC News, lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to elect Marape. The Al Jazeera news service reported that the PNG legislative body welcomed Marape after Speaker Job Pomat announced the 101-8 result of the vote supporting Marape as prime minister.
Marape, the country’s former finance minister, is the Member of Parliament for the Tari-Pori electorate in the Hela Province. He is an elder of Korobosea Seventh-day Adventist Church and attended Kabiufa Adventist Secondary School in Kabiufa, in the Eastern Highlands Province.
The official page of the PNG Parliament lists Marape’s achievements, stating that he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) in 1993, and a Post Graduate Honours degree in Environmental Science, also from UPNG, in 2000.
According to The Guardian, in his speech after his election, Marape said he would work to fix the struggling economy.
“We will look to maximizing gain from what God has given this country from our natural resources,” Marape is quoted as saying. “This government is all about putting our country in the right place.”
In a Facebook post after his election, Marape wrote that it is a privilege to be the chief servant of this nation of a thousand tribes. And he added, “I don’t promise I will be [the] answer to all of our nation’s problems, but I do promise I will give my very best effort to make a difference!”
Marape also gave credit to God for guiding his life.
“Without God, I would not have come thus far from nothing, [so] the least I can do is do my best for God’s children in Papua New Guinea.”
Marape said that in the coming week he would give a televised State of Nation address to share with the people what he and his team will do as they strive to move the country forward.
Seventh-day Adventist Church South Pacific Division president Glenn Townend said the regional Adventist leadership congratulates Marape and promises to pray for him in this new, important role.
“The South Pacific Division congratulates the Honorable James Marape on becoming the eighth Papua New Guinean prime minister,” Townend said. “We pray that he will continue to receive guidance from God as he leads this significant country. His Seventh-day Adventist values and heritage will hold him in good standing.”