CANBERRA (Australia) — On Monday, voters began casting their ballots in Papua New Guinea’s general election to determine the coalition government that will govern one of the South Pacific’s most diverse and populous nations for the next five-years.

Current Prime Minister James Marape, and his predecessor Peter O’Neill who resigned in 2019, are the leading contenders for the leadership of the new government.

The polling process takes weeks, and the composition of government among the more than 50 parties competing for 118 seats won’t be known until August when Parliament meets again.

Elections in the nation of 9,000,000 have been marred since Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia in 1975.

Chief Superintendent of Police Joseph Tondop urged citizens Monday not to sell their vote to any candidate among the 3,625 running for election.

Poor constituents are often paid by candidates to vote for them.

Tondop had promised voters that security forces would “make sure this election’s truly free, fair, safe and transparent,” according to a police statement.

Papua New Guinea is a multi-tribal society that consists mainly of subsistence farmers and has more than 800 languages.