PNG no-confidence motion withdrawn…for now

By: Peni Komaisavai

Papua New Guinea’s Opposition has withdrawn its motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill after alternative PM candidate James Marape stepped down.

This was announced during a media conference just days before Parliament is due to reconvene.

However, Marape’s stepping down has been described by O’Neill as a “desperate and last-ditch attempt in the public arena.”

O’Neill said Marape, who was until recently the government’s Finance Minister, has never put forward any constructive policy documents during the seven years a Minister.

Marape said his decision was made after consulting with other members of the group.

“Circumstances leading up to 07 May 2019 caused the 50 Members of Parliament on the Opposition side to elect me as the alternate Prime Minister through Melanesian consensus.  But the country is bigger than just me.

“When I resigned from being a Finance Minister from O’Neill cabinet, I did not do it to be Prime Minister but in my loss of faith in present Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to continue leading our country,” Marape told local media.

Opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch said they had written to the clerk to withdraw the motion with the concurrence of Marape.

However a new motion of no-confidence has not been ruled out as MPs on both sides of the house have been “invited” to join the opposition camp.