In 1987, Papua New Guinea held its sixth national election; its third since Independence in 1 975. Each one of the previous elections was the subject of a book, to which many students of Papua New Guinea contributed (Bettison, Hughes and van der Veur 1965; Epstein, Parker and Reay 1971 ; Stone 1 976; Hegarty 1977; King ). They constitute a remarkable record and make it possible to trace the evolution of PNG politics in greater detail than in many developed countries. This study of the 1987 election owes a great deal to those that went before it, but a deliberate decision was taken not to try to replicate them. Had one wanted to do so, it would have been difficult, for each of the previous studies differed from all the others. Nevertheless, some constants can be found. Every study included one or more chapter on the overall significance of the election. In addition, each one included constituency studies, where the local level, the competition amongst candidates, was the focus. The present volume follows its predecessors to that extent.