PNG PM Marape describes challenge as ‘frivolous’ and ‘opportunistic’

Prime Minister James Marape

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, James Marape has described planned attempts to challenge his government in a vote of no confidence motion as “frivolous and opportunistic”.

The traditional 18-month grace period that protects any government from challenges after a general election has ended last Friday, and today Parliament resumes for the first sitting of the year.

It is widely expected that the Opposition, after sorting out its own leadership issues, would file a motion to challenge Marape’s Pangu-led government.

Marape said he respects the rights of the Opposition to challenge his leadership, but described these attempts as “frivolous and opportunistic” attempts to undermine his administration.

“We will respect those who want to initiate a vote-of-no-confidence against my leadership,” he affirmed,” he said in a statement.

“The due process will facilitate those who want to invoke Section 145 provisions of our National Constitution.”

He pointed out the importance of adhering to the due process under Section 145 of the National Constitution, which governs the procedure for a no-confidence vote.

He also announced that the Pangu Pati convention on Sunday in Port Moresby has urged a closer examination of Section 63, related to the invitation to form a government, and Section 145 of the Constitution.

This approach aims to ensure that any no-confidence motion is based on substantial grounds rather than being motivated by short-term political gains.

“This is so that only serious proposals emerge instead of ‘frivolous and opportunistic’ attempts,” he said.

He said the government also plans to reinforce the role of the Parliamentary Opposition, enhancing the democratic dialogue within the legislature.

Marape affirmed the stability and longevity of the current government, encouraging the business community and investors to have confidence in the government’s continuity.

 “I assure investors and the business community that the Government is stable and is here to stay.

I also urge our people to leave politics to politicians.

They must realise that MPs are mandated by their people to be in Parliament, and they should not be wasting time playing politics on social media and on the streets,” he said.

PNG Opposition new leader, numbers to move vote of no confidence

Meanwhile, Kiriwina Goodenough MP Douglas Tomuriesa is acting Opposition leader –– leading PNC’s nine MPs and the rest that defected from government, and joined now totalling 23.

This is following the announcement of Lelang of his resignation as the Opposition leader and from People’s National Congress (PNC) Party.

The National Party has also officially confirmed that Papua New Guinea’s Opposition has the numbers required by law to move a Vote of No Confidence in the government.

“We already have the number required to sign the notice paper and registered the VONC with the office of the Speaker,” National Party Leader Kerenga Kua and party member David Arore said on the weekend.

The two MPs said the Opposition leader will serve the notice paper when Parliament meets.

“If it does not happen at the coming sitting, we will introduce it in the next sitting. That is still within the window period allowed by the law,” Kua pointed out.

Kua and Arore would not discuss the Opposition’s candidate for the alternate prime minister.

“We have not decided on that yet. Once we get everyone together, we will decide on who we will nominate as our alternate prime minister,” Arore said.

It is understandable why the Opposition does not want to rush into this because they are aware that whoever their candidate is can either make or break up their group.

Apart from Kua, who is serving his third term as the MP for Sinesine-Yongumugl, and a seasoned MP, there is Allan Bird, the highly respected Governor of East Sepik who is in the team.

Two other Opposition MPs that qualify for the country’s top job are Vanimo-Green MP, Belden Namah and Abau MP, Sir Puka Temu. Both members have served as deputy prime ministers in their long political careers.

Then we have Peter O’Neill who was the last prime minister that was ousted by Marape.

He is obviously the front runner.

Another candidate is the former Opposition leader and MP for Pomio, Joseph Lelang.

The Opposition may offer the job to veteran Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas, or long serving Kompiam Ambum MP Sir John Pundari, who are both in government.

Kandep MP Don Polye is a former deputy prime minister and he may be offered the job, also current Deputy Prime Minister, John Rosso and Morobe Governor Luther Wenge are the other two Morobe MPs in government that may be offered the job.

Another hot contender is MP for Yangoru-Saussia, Richard Maru, regarded widely as one of the best performing MPs in the Parliament.

He may be offered the job by the Opposition.

United Resources Party did very well in the 2022 National General Elections and its leader, William Duma is another.

Although they are government MPs, the Opposition may offer the job to one of them in order to split up the government, going into the Vote of No Confidence coming up soon.

The Opposition will choose from this huge field in the coming days.