PNG opposition numbers grow ahead of expected no-confidence vote

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Haus Palamen
Haus Palamen ... a further 12 MPs have defected to the opposition, taking the total of 23 in the 118-seat Papua New Guinea Parliament. Image: Tok Pisin Dictionary

RNZ Pacific

A total of 12 MPs in the Papua New Guinea government of Jame Marape have now switched sides, joining the opposition ahead of an expected vote of no confidence in Prime Minister James Marape.

Governments in PNG have 18 months’ grace after an election when opponents cannot bring motions for votes of no confidence.

That period, in place since August 2022, expires this weekend.

RNZ Pacific correspondent in PNG, Scott Waide, said the latest resignations came yesterday with the East Sepik Governor Allan Bird and Sam Basil Jr, who holds the Bulolo Open seat, strongly criticising Prime Minister Marape.

“Both expressed that they were disappointed in the performance of the Prime Minister and they decided to move, Sam Basil Jr in particular expressing that he was disappointing in the manner in which resources were being distributed for MPs on both sides of the House,” he said.

Waide said Bird raised concerns about Marape’s alleged involvement in controversial payments to lawyer Paul Paraka — something Prime Minister has strenuously denied.

There are now 23 MPs on the opposition benches but a successful vote would require the backing of 60 members in the 118-seat Haus Palamen.

No motion has yet been filed, though the possibility of a motion is being widely discussed in PNG.

Meanwhile, Marape became the first Pacific Island leader to address the Australian Federal Parliament yeterday, when he stressed PNG’s desire to become an economically independent nation.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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