PNG GOVERNMENT MOVES TO CHANGE THE STRUCTURE

admin's picture

OF POWER, OPPOSITION OBJECTS

By Oseah Philemon

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March 2, 1998-Niuswire/Post-Courier) ---The Papua New Guinea government is proposing major changes to the national Constitution which would make it tougher for the Opposition to move motions of no confidence in the Prime Minister, the Post-Courier reports.

The changes would also abolish the National Executive Council and place the executive powers of government in a six-man "Government Caucus Committee.''

A successful motion "to discharge the Government Caucus Committee'' would force a general election.

The proposed Constitutional Amendment on the election of the Prime Minister has been circulated to Members of Parliament and is expected to be tabled during the sitting of the House which begins tomorrow.

It proposes that Section 142 of the Constitution dealing with the Prime Minister would be repealed and replaced with a new section.

The proposed new Subsection (2) of the new section states: "At the first meeting of the Parliament after a general election, the first matter for consideration, after any formal business and any nomination of a Governor-General or appointment of a Speaker, shall be the election by members of a Government Caucus Committee consisting of a Chairman, Deputy Chairman and four members who shall be members of the Parliament.''

The proposed Subsection (3) states: "The Prime Minister shall be the Chairman of the Government Caucus Committee and shall be appointed, at the first meeting of the Parliament after a general election, by the Head of State, acting in accordance with the resolution of the Parliament which appointed the Government Caucus Committee.''

Subsection (4): "Within two weeks of the date of his appointment the Prime Minister shall inform the Speaker of the names of members generally supporting the Government and such members shall form the Government caucus.''

The proposed Subsection (5) states that the Prime Minister shall from to time inform the Speaker of the names of Members no longer in the Government or who have been accepted into the Government.

Subsection (6): "The Prime Minister shall be appointed, on occasions for appointment other than those to which Subsection (3) applies, by the Head of State acting in accordance with the recommendation of the Government Caucus Committee given after consultation with the Government caucus.''

Subsection (7), dealing with the dismissal of the Prime Minister, would provide for such dismissal by the Head of State upon recommendation of the Government Caucus Committee after consultation with the Government Caucus, under the Leadership Code, or on medical grounds.

Section 145 of the Constitution dealing with motions of no confidence would be repealed under the proposed amendment. Subsection (1) would state that a motion to discharge the Government Caucus Committee might be moved in Parliament.

Subsection (3) would provide that where a motion to discharge the Government Caucus Committee is passed by Parliament, "the Government Caucus Committee is discharged and a general election to the Parliament shall be held."

The proposed amendment provides that the prime minister, deputy prime minister and ministers holding office at the time the new law is passed shall continue to hold such offices as if appointed in accordance with the Constitution as amended.

Title -- 1231 POLITICS: Govt moves to change structure of power Date -- 2 March 1998 Byline -- Oseah Philemon Origin -- Niuswire Source -- Post-Courier (PNG), 2/3/98 Copyright -- Post-Courier Status -- Unabridged

DICTATORIAL MOVE SAYS HAIVETA

PORT MORESBY: Pangu Pati leader Chris Haiveta has described Papua New Guinea's proposed constitutional amendment as dictatorial, the Post-Courier reports.

He said yesterday the amendments would make Parliament irrelevant and ministers would be removed "at the pleasure of the Prime Minister."

Also, the powers and responsibilities of the proposed "Government Caucus Committee" had not been clearly specified, and the amendments would make the Prime Minister answerable only to the Government Caucus Committee and not to Parliament as at present.

"This legislation spells the death of the party political system in PNG," he said.

He called on MPs not to support the Amendment Bill, alleging that it was the first step towards setting up "the first political junta in the South Pacific."

Title -- 1232 POLITICS: Dictatorial move, says Haiveta Date -- 2 March 1998 Byline – None Origin -- Niuswire Source -- Post-Courier (PNG), 2/3/98 Copyright -- Post-Courier Status – Unabridged

This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source for reprinting. This service is provided by Journalism Studies, University of Papua New Guinea. Please acknowledge Niuswire: niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.pactok.net.au/docs/nius/

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment