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Nominees of prime minister not supported by all leaders

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 18, 2009) – Women leaders are still undecided on the final three nominees to represent women in Parliament coming into the final week of the three-week Parliament session.

National Council of Women (NCW) president Schola Kakas is adamant that the Prime Minister should reconsider the selected nominees and have a NCW representative on the list to go before Parliament.

Community Development Minister Dame Carol, who was pressured on the issue by Ms Kakas, also indicated that the six women nominees might have to go back for Government caucus to select the final three names.

At a joint press conference yesterday Dame Carol, Ms Kakas and Women in Politics representatives Maria Hayes, Dorothy Tekwie and Mathilda Pilacapio slammed the Post-Courier for what they called its "unprofessional" reporting.

Dame Carol admitted there were differences among the women leaders but "politics is about dialogue, finding common grounds and finding compromises".

She said the Opposition would also have to find that common ground to support women’s representation.

It was apparent at the media conference that there were differences of opinion between the women leaders who turned up.

When asked about the Government numbers and whether there were differences in women’s organisations, Dame Carol responded with a question on whether men have differences.

Ms Hayes, representing Women in Politics, said she was annoyed with the "disturbing" media reports yesterday and asked whether politicking was involved in blocking the motion last week.

She said her argument was that the three women representatives would be a temporary measure until there were 22 seats reserved for women.

Ms Hayes, however, thanked the 60 MPs who voted for the motion last week.

Ms Kakas said the Prime Minister, in his wisdom, should reconsider and have a NCW representative on the list.

She said NCW had representatives in provincial assemblies and local level governments, and why not Parliament.

Although a merit-based appointment process was followed with assistance from the United Nations, Ms Kakas, who also applied for nomination, called on the National Government to seriously review the selection process and consider a NCW representative in Parliament.

She said there were differences of opinion among the women leaders but the common ground was to have three women’s representatives in Parliament.

"We have our opinion and the National Council of Women has agreed that the NCW president becomes one of the representatives in Parliament," Ms Kakas said.

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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