PNG's 10th Parliament Convenes Today To Select PM, Speaker

Five seats have yet to be declared; O'Neil's grouping appears to have numbers to form government

By Matthew Vari

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Aug. 2, 2017) – The 10th Parliament will sit today to elect the Speaker and Prime Minister when the House convenes at 10 this morning.

The remaining five seats – Eastern Highlands regional, Chimbu regional, Southern Highlands regional, Kundiawa-Gembogl open and Kandepa open – have not been declared while Madang Regional was declared late yesterday.

The writ for Madang Regional winner Peter Yama is expected to be returned before the 111-seat Parliament meets. Before Mr Yama’s late declaration, Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato had returned a total 105 writs at 4pm yesterday, including the latest five from Gumine open, Nipa-Kutubu, Usino-Bundi, Kagua-Erave, and Jiwaka Regional, to Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae.

Port Moresby commuters and motorists using the Gordon-Waigani areas in the vicinity of Parliament House and government departments are likely to be inconvenienced today as police set up roadblocks and redirect traffic to control movement of people to witness the formation of government.

[PIR editor's note: On Aug. 2, 2017 PNG Post-Courier reported that 'The Alliance for Change team leader Patrick Pruaitch is confident of securing the numbers on the floor of Parliament. ... The AFC team which is led by the National Alliance Party and backed by Pangu Party led by Sam Basil and PNG Party led by Belden Namah, Allan Marat and Independents led by Sir Mekere Morauta and Robert Agarobe has now a total of 47 MP’s going into Parliament today.' Early reports from Parliament on Aug. 2 2017 in the PNG Post Courier showed 'Alotau group head count [O'Neill's coalition] in the chamber stands at 60, while the Kokopo group [Pruaitch's coaltion] is 47.']

This is the first session of the new tenth Parliament since April when the ninth Parliament rose to go to the National Election.

This is the procedure which is likely to unfold from 10am today:

The National Parliament Clerk will make a statement and proceed on to reading the National Gazette notice calling parliament to meet.

Then the serjeant-at-arms will announce the arrival of Chief Justice and direct him to the Speaker’s chair.

Sir Salamo Injia will hand the commission from Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae for the Parliament Clerk to read to the House.

The Parliament Clerk lays the writs for the election on the table and tells the 106 Members-elect to stand in their places and make their declarations before Sir Salamo.

The Clerk then calls on members-elect to come forward in the manner in which their electorates are announced to sign the declarations before the Chief Justice.

Sir Salamo then conducts the election of the Speaker.

The nominee must master 53 votes to be voted to chair the tenth Parliament.

The elected Speaker would be conducted to the chair by the proposer and the seconder, and takes the chair.

The Speaker-elect thanks the Members for appointing him and Parliament is suspended, as he proceeds to Government House to present himself to the Governor-General who congratulates him and administers the Declaration of the Speaker, handing him a commission authorising him to administer the Declaration of Loyalty and the Declaration of Office of the Members.

The Speaker returns to Parliament and resumes the sitting for the election of the Prime Minister.

The PNC-led coalition have nominated Peter O’Neill as its nominee while the Alliance for Change have nominated National Alliance leader Patrick Pruaitch as its nominee. The person with most votes will be declared the Prime Minister-elect.

He is then conducted to the Prime Minister’s chair by the proposer and seconder, and will be congratulated by the Speaker.

Finally, the party leaders and ordinary Members shall then congratulate the Prime Minister-elect who then proceeds to the Government House to present himself to the Governor-General.

Following this there will be congratulatory messages from Members and, possibly an announcement of a caretaker Cabinet, Parliament will adjourn for two weeks.

PNG Post-Courier
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The Electoral Commission erred in requesting the Ombudsman and the Courts to further Extend the return of writ after its own extension of 5 days only only from the 24th July to 29th. The commission knew very well its limits and the logistics of completing the counting in just 5 days. Therefore any counting completed after the 29th July should be declared fail election. Layman's opinion.

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