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PNG High Court to Rule on Opposition Leader's Standing in Prime Minister's Election Reference

The Papua New Guinea Supreme Court will rule next Monday on whether Opposition Leader Belden Namah has standing to file the Reference challenging the legality of Prime Minister James Marape’s election in Parliament last May.

The three-judges bench today heard submissions from all parties as to whether Mr Namah has sufficient interest in the matter to have filed the Reference.

Mr Namah’s lawyer Greg Sheppard submitted his client is a duly elected Member of Parliament and has a duty and obligation to challenge the appointment of the Prime Minister .

Mr Sheppard submitted Mr Namah also has a personal interest because he seconded the nomination of Ialibu Pangia MP Peter O’Neill after former Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch nominated Mr O’Neill.

He submitted Mr Namah has an interest to uphold the Constitution and has clear standing.

Prime Minister Marape’s lawyer McRonald Nale submitted Mr Namah was not the Opposition Leader when he filed the Reference last September.

Mr Nale submitted Parliament is the only body to recognize Mr Namah as the Opposition Leader but it had sat a month later in October 2019.

Nemo Yalo, lawyer for Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Attorney General, submitted Mr Namah must have genuine concern and be aggrieved personally.

Mr Yalo submitted the substantive matter is not a constitutional matter but a matter of procedure of Parliament and not for the court to determine.

FM100/PNG Today

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