PNG PM to launch “constitutional review”

Prime Minister James Marape

The constitutional law review of the forms and system of Papua New Guinea government for the election of the prime minister by the people will be launched by Prime Minister James Marape.

The government has directed the Constitutional Law Reform Commission (CLRC) to undertake a constitutional law review to look at changing the laws to have the people vote for the prime minister as in a presidential elections rather than the current system where the Members of Parliament vote for the prime minister.

The official review will start after the launching of the review Thursday.

Chairman of the Constitutional Law Reform Commission (CLRC) and Member for Okapa Saki Soloma said the government has directed CLRC to undertake the review as timing was critical with the nation to reach its 50th independence anniversary in 2025.

“This review is critical to audit the form and system of government and take stock of how far we have come as a nation since Independence in 1975, with the thoughts of looking at whether the current form and system of government has adequately, effectively and efficiently worked for us, and to determine whether or not we need an alternative form and system of government that can take us through the next 50 years and beyond,”  Soloma said.

He said apart from the election of the prime minister by the people, the other key matters of the review include: the current structure of the National Parliament; the system of government; and the different levels of government.

Saloma said the review will raise fundamental questions and discussions on bicameral and unicameral parliamentary systems, current three-tier system of government, the tenure as well as the method and criteria for the nomination and election of the prime minister, and the relevance of the English Monarch as Head of State.

He said CLRC with other relevant government agencies will conduct consultations in all the provinces and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville from 05 March to 18 May 2023, to gauge the views of the people. He said an online survey will be accessible to the public on 15 February 2023.