Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko resigned on Friday after being strongly contested over the expenses of his trip to the UK last Saturday to attend the coronation of King Charles III. Papua New Guinea is part of the Commonwealth, the international organization that brings together a number of states that were previously part of the British Empire: formally, the king of the United Kingdom is also the head of state of some of these countries.
The controversy over Tkatchenko’s trip arose in recent days after the publication on TikTok of some videos of his daughter, Savannah, who had gone with him to London and had shown first-class travel by plane and moments of shopping in luxury shops of Singapore. The videos were subsequently deleted, but the controversy and disputes grew: Tkatchenko was accused of wasting public money, with travel costs estimated at around 1 million euros, in a rather poor country where the per capita GDP is around about two thousand five hundred euros, one thirteenth of the Italian one. Tkatchenko had called those who criticized him and his daughter “primitive animals”.
The protests culminated on Friday in a demonstration in front of the Papua New Guinea parliament in the capital Port Moresby. At that point Tkatchenko said he had confronted Prime Minister James Marape and decided to “step aside”.
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