PNG ruling Pangu party split, I will not resign says PM Marape

Prime Minister James Marape

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has declared that he will not resign from his position despite the recent defection of Pangu Pati and Government MPs to the Opposition.

In a statement he emphasised that any change in leadership must occur through a no-confidence vote.

Prime Minister Marape has urged the people of Papua New Guinea and the business community to continue their daily activities without disruption as the political process unfolds.

“Pangu has 41 MPs as of today, and with our Coalition partners, we have more than the required 56 MPs to remain in Government,” Marape stated.

“As I speak, our Coalition partners, including United Resources Party, Social Democratic Party, People’s Party, People’s First Party, People’s Movement for Change, Melanesian Liberal Front, and Melanesian Alliance, are intact.”

He further elaborated, “The number of MPs, with the combination of Coalition partners and Pangu, exceeds the magic number of 56. We are confident with our numbers and are putting together our team as we prepare for Parliament on Tuesday, 28 May.”

Prime Minister Marape has also decommissioned Finance Minister Rainbo Paita and Housing Minister MP Kobby Bomareo from their Cabinet positions following their defection to the Opposition.

He announced that other ministers who have joined the Opposition, once confirmed, will also face decommissioning.

Prime Minister Marape stated that Finschhafen MP Paita and Tewai-Siassi MP Bomareo displayed a lack of respect for Cabinet decorum by not submitting their resignations before leading the defection to the Opposition.

“It certainly gives me no pleasure in decommissioning Rainbo Paita, who has got caught up in this political play and betrayed the trust bestowed upon him, by being the ring leader of Pangu Pati and Government MPs joining ranks with the Opposition,” Prime Minister Marape said.

“I have also decommissioned Kobby Bomareo as a minister in my Cabinet. Cabinet solidarity has been breached by the defection of Paita and Bomareo.

“While I respect their right to form new allegiances, the fact that they have shown open revolt and chosen to associate with the Opposition and led other Pangu and Government MPs to the other side, leaves me with no choice but to decommission them immediately.

“I know other ministers are currently in the Opposition camp, by choice or being forced to, and we are reaching out to them.”

Prime Minister Marape recalled that in 2019, when he resigned from the Peter O’Neill government, he didn’t move out with a crowd of MPs and ministers as Paita and Bomareo had done.

“Paita and Bomareo, by their acts of dissent, have shown no respect for Cabinet decorum by jumping ship without writing to me as prime minister and indicating their areas of dissatisfaction,” he said.

“Other ministers, who were recently given portfolios over others who were equally or more qualified, will also be decommissioned once it is confirmed that they have joined the Opposition.

“They have to indicate where I have gone wrong and why they have decided to move away from my Cabinet.

“Papua New Guinea needs to know, as the country is littered with enough experiences of personality politics, with no policy substance.

“If they have no record of delivering in the past, what is the hope of them delivering in the future?

“Under my watch, Government ministers have been given more power and resources to work, like never before. “It is in the interest of the country and their respective districts that ministers who may have joined Opposition, apart from Paita and Bomareo, confirm that they have done so and their grounds for leaving,” he said.