Ex-minister Marape declares rival camp ‘steadfast’ in O’Neill challenge


Recruiting the opposition numbers as the no-confidence vote looms for Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s government when Parliament resumes tomorrow. Video: EMTV News

By Scott Waide

The opposition group calling itself Papua New Guinea’s “alternative government” camping at Laguna Hotel in the capital Port Moresby say they are ready for Parliament when it resumes tomorrow.

Tari Pori MP James Marape, the former Finance Minister, said their camp was steadfast despite not declaring any candidate for the Prime Minister’s post. Marape was later named as the alternative prime minister.

“The Opposition is kind enough to offer the opportunity for anyone for the PM seat,” Marape said, adding the camp had 57 MPs who were ready to come to the Haus tomorrow for the no-confidence vote. But the vote is not expected on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Outcome of challenge to O’Neill too close to call – Keith Jackson’s analysis

Grand chief and Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas also joined the Laguna camp today.

Sir Peter was greeted with much jubilation from Marape and other MPs.

The Enga Governor reiterated that he had been instrumental under Prime Minister’s leadership but now was committed to hear the “cries of the people” and that was for a better government.

“My advice has fallen on deaf ears, my stand to join Laguna camp is to do government business differently and focus on the priority areas to improve lives of people.”

Change wanted
Among leaders who spoke, former Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta said like-minded leaders wanted change and better leadership.

Meanwhile, another coalition partner of the People’s National Congress has announced its defection.

People’s Party leader and Jiwaka Governor Dr William Tongamp said that under the party constitution, rule of law and zero tolerance of corruption were the two points stressed when comparing government leadership.

Tongamp said that under his leadership, the party would camp with the alternate government at Laguna.

Former party leader and Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas was present during the announcement this morning.

Scott Waide is a EMTV News deputy news editor and Lae bureau chief.

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