SOMARE OPPONENTS JUSTIFY NO-CONFIDENCE EFFORT

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Temu says everyone knows the PM has ‘stepped aside’

By Alison Anis PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 11, 2011) – In Papua New Guinea (PNG), senior member of opposition and Abau Member of Parliament (MP) Sir Puka Temu said there is good reason for a vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister (PM) and his government.

"My opinion is that Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, the chief executive officer of our land, is facing the leadership tribunal and should be advised not to come back, Sir Puka said, adding that the attorney-general could not come out to argue that the prime minister was on leave. The nation knows that the Prime Minister has stepped aside because of his referral to the leadership tribunal. Stop telling lies to the country; just accept the fact that the PM has stepped aside and, if he has to come back, there has to be a good political reason."

Responding to attacks by Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru, who tagged him as "weak and incompetent", and Forest Minister Timothy Bonga who called him a political hypocrite, Sir Puka said the two Members of Parliament were upset because he was pushing for a vote of no-confidence.

"The vote of no-confidence is allowed under the constitution. Section 145 of the constitution allows the people’s representatives to question the incompetence of government; in this case, the competence of the Prime Minister, the Abau MP said. I was with him for three years and I saw the power play and level of corrupt practices never seen before. I did not want to be part of it so I had to leave," Sir Puka told reporters last Friday.

He was confident acting Speaker Francis Marus would allow the opposition to move a vote of no-confidence against the prime minister and his government.

"If the government claims it has the numbers, then, what is it afraid of? If government has the numbers, it can easily beat the motion. I am appealing to the acting speaker to do the right thing and not behave like Speaker Jeffery Nape," Sir Puka said.

He said the government’s definition of stability was narrow.

"Stability is not just one government staying in office for ever and ever. Stability also includes a motion on the floor and the winner gets to change government peacefully that is stability where the democratic process is adhered to on the floor of parliament."

The matter on the motion of no-confidence was expected to go before the parliamentary private business committee today before parliament resumes at 2 pm.

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