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Somare rewards loyal party members with cash

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 31, 2009) – Three more MPs from the Government ranks have reportedly joined the Opposition camp, bringing the total number to 35.

There are others who are in talks with the Opposition as indicated by the Opposition camp.

On the other hand the Government with Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare had a cabinet meeting and an emergency meeting with his members to keep them intact.

[PIR editor’s note: The Papua New Guinea Parliament currently has 109 members, although the country’s constitution allows for a total of 126. PNG’s population as of this month is slightly over 6 million.]

And the 56 MPs who voted with the Prime Minister for the adjournment of Parliament on Wednesday have been given high priority to receive a total of K112 million [US$44 million] .

A Government minister confirmed that each of the 56 MPs would receive K2 million [US$789, 000] from their outstanding District Support Improvement Program (DSIP) funds.

Many of them received their K2 million yesterday and an official was overhead telling one MP his K2 million will be in the second run, which will be delivered to him today.

The Opposition did not indicate who the three MPs were even though they said they were in the process of getting more MPs into their camp.

"Our colleague MPs know what we are doing and we welcome them to join us to remove this corrupt government," said Deputy Leader of Opposition Bart Philemon.

Mr. Philemon said there was a faction in the government side that was fed up with the kind of leadership displayed by Sir Michael Somare and a few of his ministers.

"We the Opposition are intact and are prepared to change the Government for the good of the people and the nation," Philemon said.

He said the Opposition was prepared to form the next government while the Government was desperately trying to keep its MPs intact.


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