PNG CABINET DECIDES NOT TO RECALL PARLIAMENT

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 1, 1999 - Radio Australia)---The Papua New Guinea Cabinet has decided it will not move to recall Parliament early -- despite the apparent collapse of the coalition Government headed by Prime Minister Bill Skate.

Radio Australia correspondent Richard Dinnen reports that Parliament will now reconvene on July 13th, when a no-confidence motion is scheduled to be moved against the Government.

"Bill Skate's Coalition was left in tatters by the defection on Monday of its main partner -- the People's Democratic Movement.

"The Deputy Prime Minister Iaiaro Lasaro approached elements of the new Opposition alliance, asking them to come over to the Government. The approach was rebuffed, and so the early re-call of Parliament has been abandoned.

"Parliament will sit on July 13th, and the no-confidence vote will be called early in the session.

"The new Opposition is claiming 82 of the 104 members.

"That number is inflated, and there is a possible drift back to the Government. But by most estimates today, the Opposition still has a majority.

"Richard Dinnen, Port Moresby."

PNG CONSIDERS IMPLICATIONS OF COLLAPSE OF COALITION GOVERNMENT

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (June 30, 1999 - PACNEWS/Radio Australia)---The Papua New Guinea Cabinet has met to consider the implications of the apparent collapse of the coalition Government.

Radio Australia reports the main coalition partner quit on Monday, leaving the Government vulnerable to a no-confidence vote.

The People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) now will side with the Opposition, which claims to have 82 of the 104 members of Parliament.

If that’s correct, the group will easily win a no confidence vote when Parliament resumes in two weeks.

But the Government says the number has been exaggerated, and the result will be much closer.

Negotiations are continuing.

The Papua New Guinea Cabinet met last night to consider the situation, amid pressure for an early recall of Parliament.

No announcement has been made about the Cabinet meeting but it is unlikely the recall will be made, Radio Australia says.

TWO MORE QUIT PNG CABINET

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (June 30, 1999 - Post-Courier)---Two more ministers resigned from the Skate Cabinet yesterday.

They are Environment and Conservation Minister Michael Ogio (North Bougainville), who was sworn-in just three weeks ago, and Sports and Religion Minister Andrew Kumbakor (Nuku). They are members of the Peoples Democratic Movement Party.

This brings to nine, the number of Cabinet ministers who have resigned since last Friday.

The others are Dr. Fabian Pok (Communications and Public Enterprise), Muki Taranupi (Education), Ludger Mond (Health), Peter Waieng (Defense), Mathias Karani (Youth and Employment), Peter Arul (Forest), and Masket Iangalio (Mining).

Seven vice-ministers also have resigned.

Mr. Ogio and Mr. Kumbakor advised the Prime Minister of their resignations in separate two-paragraph letters.

The letters, signed by the ministers, said: "It has been of great pleasure to serve in your Government as a minister. Unfortunately, due to a caucus deliberation by my party, PDM, I have to tender my resignation to that effect.

"I thank you for your recognition of the people of (Nuku/North Bougainville) in delegating this important portfolio on their behalf.''

The minor coalition partner in the government, the United Resource Party had pulled out of the Government earlier and joined Speaker John Pundari's Advance PNG Party.

Party leader and Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru, Peter Ipatas (Enga) and Alfred Kaiabe (Komo-Magarima) were seen walking into Mr. Pundari's residence at Korobosea yesterday.

They held talks behind closed doors. The outcome of their discussions could not be established last night.

URP on Monday declared its loyalty to the Government and vowed to stay. However, the recent political developments, including the resignation of one of its senior members and Cabinet minister Masket Iangalio, is understood to have unraveled that commitment.

Mr. Iangalio said he made an independent decision to move out since he could not agree with what Prime Minister Bill Skate was doing. He also cited he could not work with Fisheries Minister Chris Haiveta.

The Post-Courier spoke to Mr. Agiru, Mr. Ipatas and Mr. Kaiabe, but they did not clearly state why they were there.

However, sources close to Mr. Pundari later confirmed that the three MPs had made commitments to join Mr. Pundari's group.

One source said Mr. Pundari's numbers might increase from the current 26 to about 30 by end of the week.

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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