PNG Vote Of No-Confidence Delayed

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

Speaking checking on validity of signatures

By Papua New Guinea correspondent Eric Tlozek

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 29, 2016) – The Acting Speaker of the Papua New Guinea Parliament has delayed a decision on allowing a vote of no confidence in the country's Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill.

Aide Ganasi told the PNG Opposition he has to check whether the members who were named in a motion for a vote of no confidence had actually signed the letter requesting a vote.

The moves comes after the motion's seconder, former prime minister Sir Michael Somare, reportedly told local media he had only signed a motion from last year, not given his support to a new motion.

Mr Ganasi then wrote to the Opposition, saying parliament's private member's committee, which considers any motion for a vote, wanted to do "due diligence".

"After some deliberation, the committee was of the view that due diligence checks had to be made with all members of parliament that had placed their signatures on this motion to ensure their signature is properly obtained," Mr Ganasi said.

The move is likely to delay any vote until the next sitting of the PNG Parliament.

The delay is another hurdle for the PNG Opposition, which has been trying to hold a vote of no confidence in Mr O'Neill since last year.

"This is a sign of him lacking the support of his MPs from the PNC and the coalition partners in the government," Opposition Leader Don Polye said.

"If they were safe, would they do what they have done? If the Prime Minister had the full support of the MPs of the Parliament, would he devise such a delay tactic?"

The Acting Speaker rejected a motion for a vote last year because he said it was not properly written out.

The Government then adjourned Parliament early after a second motion was lodged, not allowing the vote to proceed.

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