PNG MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT PEIPUL DEFECTS TO GOVERNMENT

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 10, 1998 - Post-Courier)---Imbonggu MP Peter Peipul announced yesterday that he was joining the Government after a Supreme Court review installed him as MP two weeks ago.

He said he was joining the Government because most MPs from the Southern Highlands were there and that his presence would help to consolidate the Government's position.

Mr. Peipul contested the elections as a National Alliance candidate and won the seat but was removed after a successful court petition by lawyer Pila Niningi.

Mr. Niningi held the seat for a short time before the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the National Court and reinstated Mr. Peipul as the duly elected MP.

Mr. Peipul was the Deputy Leader of the Opposition at the time he was unseated by Mr. Niningi.

The Opposition could not be reached for comment yesterday.

However, Prime Minister Bill Skate welcomed Mr. Peipul's move into government ranks, saying it would boost the government's numerical strength to 52.

He said Mr. Peipul had been a senior public servant and his presence in government would boost the Government's morale in addressing economic, social and public sector reforms and the issue of Bougainville.

Mr. Niningi has filed a review of the decision of the National Court which is to be heard today.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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