With the election approaching and turmoil over the right to leadership in Papua New Guinea, this study, based on 12 focus group discussions with 138 participants, was designed to provide some insight into the hopes and concerns of ordinary citizens and to provide political parties, civil society and others with an understanding of how public views can and should be incorporated into their work. In the study, Papua New Guineans demonstrate they have a clear understanding of politics in their country. While they endorse democracy and elections and accept the process as legitimate, the country’s political system falls far short of their expectations and is failing to address their most basic needs. They lament especially the distance they feel between themselves and their government, but at the same time hold out hope that the emergence of good leaders can change the course of the country.
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