PNG PM Questions Motives Behind Somare’s Complaint

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O’Neill: ‘Self-serving’ action not in best interest of country

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 2, 2015) – The political heat is on with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill raising serious concerns about the motive and intent of the complaint submitted by Sir Michael Somare to the Ombudsman Commission.

Pressure will be on major coalition partner National Alliance Party on how they walk the tight rope with Sir Michael given the fact that Opposition Leader Don Polye is among the list of 70 MPs named as in breach of the Leadership Code relating to the political impasse in 2011.

Mr Polye said Sir Michael has every right to lodge the complaint on the Supreme Court ruling.

However, Prime Minister O’Neill said yesterday Sir Michael’s move is self-serving and not in the best interests of the country. The Prime Minister said the State has been very generous towards Sir Michael and it is time he recognised the support that has been accorded to him.

[PIR editor’s note: The National reported that ‘Former Speaker Jeffrey Nape has urged Sir Michael Somare to withdraw a complaint he filed with the Ombudsman Commission against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his Government. ... Nape said the complaint by Sir Michael was misleading. ... He said Sir Michael was "absolutely wrong in his approach". … "I’m wondering why the OC is accepting the complaint," he said.’]

"All entitlements have been fully paid, including additional funds he received from the State.

"The people of Papua New Guinea do not owe him anything further than what he has already received."

"The events that took place in 2011 were because of Somare not being honest with the people of Papua New Guinea, and with the Parliament, about the seriousness of his illness and his lengthy absence as the Prime Minister of the country.

"The position of Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea is not a birthright, it is a position that is mandated by the people through their Parliament.

"It was in Parliament’s considered view that Somare’s lengthy absence of over eight months, without proper explanation or reason given to the Parliament, gave rise to a vacancy in the position.

"This led to the events of 2011 when the Parliament elected a new Prime Minister." Mr O’Neill said decisions of the court were noted by Parliament that acted within the law.

"The Parliament, at all times took note of the court’s decisions, and has dealt with these decisions appropriately.

"Through Parliamentary process it was deemed that there was a vacancy, thereby allowing Parliament to conduct an election for the Prime Minister on each occasion.

"Parliament has dealt with this within its mandate and the decisions of Parliament are not subject to the Leadership Code.

"The people of this nation then went to the polls in 2012 where they elected our Government, and Somare must accept that the people made this decision through the ballot as part of our national democratic process. "He needs to respect the decision of the people and stop being a spoiler for the country.

"If he thinks he has a case to present to the people, his opportunity will come again in 2017 within 20 months.

"We will see him at the polls and this is where the people will decide again who should lead the country for the next five years."

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