Julius Chan

Former Prime Minister
Papua New Guinea
Focus Area(s)
Balancing the Central and Local
Rohan Mukherjee and Matthew Devlin
Country of Reform
Papua New Guinea
Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea
Date of Interview
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sir Julius Chan talks about the early years of decentralization following Papua New Guinea's independence in 1975. In his capacity as finance minister in the years that followed independence, Chan was unsure of the ability of provincial governments to successfully manage the autonomy given to them by decentralization. He gradually grew concerned about the inability of provincial governments to deliver services at the local level. When he became deputy prime minister in 1992, Chan assisted Prime Minister Paias Wingti in his attempt to reform the provincial government system. Chan himself became prime minister in 1994 and completed the reform effort despite threats of secession from provincial leaders in island provinces who opposed the reform.

Full Interview

Sir Julius Chan Interview

At the time of this interview, Sir Julius Chan was the governor of New Ireland province and a member of the national Parliament in Papua New Guinea. He was prime minister from 1980 to 1982 and from 1994 to 1997. Chan was a national politician even before PNG’s independence in 1975. Over the years he was repeatedly re-elected to Parliament and held a number of cabinet positions such as finance, industry, external affairs and trade, and also was deputy prime minister. Chan was deputy prime minister in the 1992 government of Paias Wingti that actively pursued a reformist agenda on decentralization. He became prime minister in 1994 and championed the Organic Law on Provincial Government and Local Level Government, which was passed in 1995. Chan lost the 1997 national elections and remained out of politics for a decade, returning in 2007 as a member of Parliament and governor of New Ireland province.

Papua New Guinea
Not specified