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The party with the numbers will form the Government : Barker

It is the bigger parties- the ruling Peoples National Congress (PNC) Party, National Alliance and Pangu Party that will have the upper hand in forming the next government.

This is the view of economist and director of the Institute of National Affairs (INA) Paul Barker.

Mr Barker was giving his views on the camps that have already been established by the big players and the horse trading that has heightened as they look to mustering the required number to form government.

PNC has gone into camp at Alotau, while Pangu and its allies form the Eastern Block in Goroka, and the National Alliance in Kokopo.

“Each party is exploring what they can offer to help form the government and what’s on offer from the other parties/leaders in terms of ministries for their own team and the importance of those ministries.

“A deal can be struck but then changed or an apparent deal, whilst another deal has actually been firmed up. Everyone is testing how far they can trust each other. So it’s a game of bridge or diplomacy where everyone is trying to read their own hands and guess others,” Mr Barker said.

PNC leads to date having 23 seats under its belt, while NA has 12.

On the issue of a likely reunion, following the fallout by the two former major coalition partners, Mr Barker said it is possible.

“NA made a bold stand of Independence, leaving the PNC-led government and condemning economic management, when they already held the Treasury portfolio.

“An interesting position but they (NA) and all other parties wanted to show their distinction and not be too closely aligned with others,

“That does not mean that PNC and NA would not realign with each other again. They did in 2012 and a few months earlier in 2011.

Mr Barker said clearly the parties/blocs other than PNC would want to form a government but highlighted that PNC clearly has an initial advantage as the largest party that will be invited to form government.

“However if they only have say 26-32 members or so they fall short of the needed number. So in any case PNC like the other parties need a coalition to form government. If they cannot then the opportunity immediately goes to the others. So it all depends on how firm the alliances, hostilities, allegiances, demands from supporters etc are,” Mr Barker added. PNG Today/Post Courier/Statement

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