O’Neill quits as PNG Prime Minister

By Samisoni Pareti

Papua New Guinea will have a new Prime Minister tomorrow.

This follows the announcement by the incumbent Peter O’Neill that he has tendered his resignation during a visit to the nation’s governor general before parliament sat at 10am Port Moresby time.

O’Neill’s announcement in parliament was unexpected and took away the sting from what promised to be another rocky session after yesterday’s dramatic scenes, when members of government and the opposition engaged in shouting matches with at least two MPs almost exchanging blows.

The controversy then was the refusal by Speaker Job Pomat to entertain the opposition’s motion expressing no confidence in him.

But Speaker Pomat opened today’s session by giving the floor to O’Neill

“Mr Speaker, it has been my great honour to serve this nation and lead this nation for almost eight years. We have had some profound accomplishments during our term in government, through a policy agenda that has almost transformed the nation.”

He said for the sake of stability, “it is important that I vacate this seat, so that we can be able to move on.”

Outspoken Madang MP Bryan Kramer raised a point of order asking for evidence that O’Neill had indeed tendered his resignation to the Governor General. Speaker Pomat in response waved a piece of paper, saying it was a letter confirming O’Neill’s resignation.

With him bowing out, EMTV says the opposition’s plans to push for a no confidence motion against his government is now redundant. The election of Prime Minister is now scheduled to take place in parliament tomorrow.

Opposition MP Patrick Pruaitch is expected to have the numbers to be endorsed as the new PM of PNG.