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PNG PM O'Neill's resignation unconstitutional , says Sir Amet

Former chief justice, Sir Arnold Amet, says the announcement by Peter O'Neill to resign as prime minister, remains a mere announcement until a formal letter of resignation is received by the Governor General.

Sir Arnold quoted Section 146 of the Constitution saying Mr O'Neill remains the prime minister, until he tenders his resignation in writing to Sir Bob Dadae.

"So he's still prime minister until he tenders his resignation in writing to the head of state the governor general, under Section 146 of the Constitution."

Sir Arnold further pointed out that the announcement of Sir Julius as caretaker prime minister is not right according to the Constitution.

"There is no provision nor power in the prime minister to appoint a caretaker prime minister. There is no such provision.

"There is a deputy prime minister and when the prime minister is absent from the country or sick (like when grand chief was unwell in Singapore), when the prime minister is out of the country, the deputy prime minister becomes the acting prime minister.

"When the prime minister resigns, tenders his resignation to the governor general and is still here in the country he is still the prime minister until the house (Parliament) convenes and appoints a new prime minister.

"So to be clear of the announcement there is no provision and it would be unConstitutional for any such purported appointment of anybody else to be appointed by the prime minister as caretaker prime minister.

"The prime minister does not have that power.

"From that purported announcement quite clearly it is unConstitutional and it is wrong.

"Sir Julius cannot be the acting prime minister."

NBC News/ PNG Today

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PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill Steps down, Julias Chan is new acting Prime Minister

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