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PNG leader’s second try after defeat in March

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 7, 2009) – Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare’s attempt to reintroduce the motion to nominate three women representatives in Parliament when it starts today has drawn a positive reaction from some men and women.

In the March session, women were shocked when Parliament failed to vote in big enough numbers. The vote ended in 60-16, 13 short of the 73 votes required to pass the motion.

The only woman MP of the 109 MPs in parliament, Dame Carol Kidu told tearful women outside Parliament that the motion would be reintroduced.

Dame Carol says she is grateful to the Prime Minister for supporting the motion again which will gain affirmative action for women.

Last week NCD Governor Powes Parkop made a commitment to support the women MP motion. Yesterday Governor-General Sir Paulias

Matane called for more women voices in the Parliament.

"While we did not get the numbers in the March session I was happy to see the support that was given by more than half the members of Parliament. After all Section 55 of our constitution promotes the special rights for women and allows for positive discrimination to achieve gender equality," Dame Carol said in a statement yesterday.

Dame Carol admitted there were hiccups in the process leading to the passage of the motion when introduced in the March session but adds; "There is certainly no space for attributing blame – just lessons learnt."

The final three women candidates are: Ennie Moaitz, former premier/governor of Morobe Province who has vast experience in politics and administration, Priscilla Kare, a former broadcaster who has worked among NGOs promoting gender balance and Mary

Toliman with an education and NGO background.

Profiles of the three women nominees were circulated to the Members of Parliament in the March session after being screened by a panel of credible women representing all sectors.

Dame Carol said: "With the support of Government I have been able to introduce a range of legislation to promote the rights of the marginalised people of this country.

"The largest group that make up more than 50 per cent of our nation are women.

"Our cultures present many barriers prohibiting women from reaching their full potential as human beings. If we are to utilize all our potentials for the development and progress of our nation we must level the playing field," she said.

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