By ZACHERY PER
PNG Constitutional Democratic party candidate Tobias Kulang is the new member for Kundiawa-Gembogl, The National reports.
He is the first member of the newly-formed party and the last to be declared a member of the seventh National Parliament before next year's general election.
Kulang polled 12,038 votes at the end of elimination 41 to muster 51.145% of the total 23,537 ballots remaining, to be declared winner ahead of People's National Congress (PNC) candidate Peter Waieng who managed 11,499 votes (48.85%).
Kulang was declared the winner at 5.30pm yesterday by returning officer James Piapia.
Kulang picked up 2,118 votes from the 40th elimination of former MP Wagi Merimba who was fourth with 6,596 votes and surged to the top with 11,517 votes.
At the 41st elimination of another former MP Mathew Siune, Kulang picked up 521 votes to win the by-election.
At his maiden speech at the declaration, Kulang emphasised that he was among a new generation of leaders to lead the people to prosperity and salvation.
He promised to lead Kundiawa-Gembogl under a clear vision to set a new destiny for the people and steer them towards positive progress and rural development.
"I will do my best to serve with a vision to bring changes within these few months remaining before the general election."
Kulang said one of his priorities would be to fix the Kundiawa-Gembogl road.
He comes from Kegesulo at the foot of Mt Wilhelm.
Witnessing the swearing-in were Deputy Governor of Chimbu Teine Sogan, Simbu administrator Joe Kunda, Assistant Commissioner of Police Simon Kauba, Chimbu elections manager Steven Gore Kaupa, police, counting officials and PNG Electoral Commission staff.
Speakers commended the peaceful conduct of the candidates, supporters and the people of Kundiawa-Gembogl.
Kauba said the people demonstrated that they had matured, understood and respected the process of electing leaders.
"I commend police and the people, especially candidates and their supporters, for their good behaviour during the by-election process," he said.