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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Opposition needs a miracle to oust Prime Minister Peter O'Neill


 THE Opposition has been given one last chance to try and overthrow Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in a vote of no confidence.


A three-judge Supreme Court bench yesterday issued an order for Parliament to be recalled this week to deal with the motion of no confidence that was tabled in the last sitting.
Parliament was abruptly adjourned on June 8 amid the clash between students and police at the University of Papua New Guinea’s Waigani campus. It was also the day that the Opposition gave notice on the final no-confidence motion. 

Immediately after adjournment, an irate Opposition Leader Don Polye told a press conference that the Government had deliberately adjourned Parliament to Aug 2 to avoid dealing with the motion.
Polye claimed the adjournment was unconstitutional and vowed to seek the Supreme Court’s interpretation and intervention in recalling Parliament.
He succeeded yesterday when Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika and Justice Colin Makail unanimously ruled that the adjournment had breached the Constitution and ordered the Speaker to recall Parliament to convene in five days’ time to debate and vote on the no-confidence motion.

As victorious lawyer Loani Henao said, “This time the Supreme Court has ruled that the behaviour of Parliament and the behaviour of Government by manipulating the business committee to avoid debate on the motion of no confidence is unconstitutional.” 
The high court has spoken and all Members of Parliament must meet to resolve this outstanding matter once and for all. 

A notice was posted yesterday by acting clerk of Parliament Kala Aufa informing all MPs of the urgent meeting, which starts at 2pm on Friday. “In compliance with the Order of the Supreme Court of Justice (SCC(OS) No.3 of 2016 dated 12 July 2016, the Speaker has fixed two (2) o’clock pm on Friday, 15 July 2016 as the date of the next meeting of the Parliament.”
Whilst Polye and his Opposition members are ecstatic about the court victory, their joy is likely to be short-lived after the final vote is taken on the floor of Parliament. Essentially, they don’t have the numbers to remove O’Neill given the overwhelming support he currently enjoys unless members of the ruling coalition decide to leave their comfort zones and cross the floor en masse.
It will take a miracle for that to happen but for those who believe in miracles, nothing is impossible. We will just have to wait and see.

Nonetheless, intense lobbying has already started and the country will be caught up in the political frenzy over the next week or so.
Prime Minister O’Neill has described the recalling of Parliament as “another costly attempt to cause instability for the sake of political self-indulgence”.
“The vote proposed by the Opposition is mischievous and continues to lack the support of the Members of Parliament. The PNC-led coalition Government has overwhelming support on the floor of Parliament to complete this term of Government,” he said in a statement yesterday.
O’Neill also defended his Government’s record of achievements over the past four years. “The reality is that the people of our nation know that they are in a much better position today than they were four years ago. The people know that our Government has delivered on its promises and we will continue to do so.”

Whilst we maintain that the Opposition’s bid to oust the Prime Minister is premature and ill-conceived, it is the duty of all 111 MPs to deliberate on a motion of no confidence that has fulfilled the requirements of Section 145 of the Constitution.
It is therefore encouraging to note that the independence and integrity of the Parliament has been upheld by the Permanent Parliamentary Committee in their acceptance of the Opposition’s final no-confidence motion.
This vital aspect of our parliamentary democracy may have been compromised during the Opposition’s earlier attempts to move the motion.
The parliamentary committee had rejected the first two motions because they were “not in the best interests of the nation” and were “parochial in nature”.

It is not for the committee to decide what is in the best interests of the nation by rejecting a motion they claim to be parochial in nature.
Let all MPs deliberate on the motion and decide its outcome.

Commentary Source: The National

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 6:13 AM. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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