PNG No-Confidence Motion ‘Invalid’ Says Sir Michael Somare

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Motion can’t be entertained less than 18-months before election

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 24, 2016) – The vote of no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill by the Opposition this week is defective and invalid, says Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.

The East Sepik governor also said he did not second the motion.

Sir Michael, the previous prime minister, said the motion was defective because the Opposition used same one from last year, instead of introducing a new one.

He said he and Sinasina-Yongomugl MP Kerenga Kua signed last year because they were not happy with the Budget however, they were not consulted over the current one.

"Now it’s of no effect," Sir Michael said, adding that it is 12 months before the national election and already within the 18-month grace period against changing government.

"Prime Minister should stand up and tell people, explain to them that under the Standing Orders any motion or any proposal by the Opposition cannot be entertained," he said.

Sir Michael said that if the Opposition wants to move a vote they have to have an absolute majority of 75 Members or the whole House.

"The move will make the Prime Minister dissolve the House meaning we go to the election, no need to put in a vote of no-confidence," he said.

"Prime Minister can then go (on the campaign) and tell people what good he has done for Papua New Guinea for the past three years as a Prime Minister. That’s all he can do."

Sir Michael reiterated that he had no grudge against the incumbent, adding in Tok Pisin: Mi nogat bel hevi, mi na Kua mipela explain long caucus leaders belong mipla pinis na mipela tok signature em last yia. It shouldn’t be used again. We have no intention. Some of us understand."

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