27 Jul 2004

PNG speaker says rebel MPs cannot belong to United Resources Party

11:34 am on 27 July 2004

The Speaker of the Papua New Guinea Parliament, Jeffery Nape, has ruled that rebels members of the United Resources Party can no longer belong to the Party.

Parliament resumed yesterday after a two week recess and as with much of the last session, most Opposition MPs boycotted it.

Many of the MPs had shifted their allegiance from the government, but in their absence yesterday, the Speaker moved to enforce the provisions of the Integrity Law which is designed to bring political stability to the country.

Our correspondent in Port Moresby, Peter Niesi, explains.

"It's move again drummed up by the government. Under the integrity law, all independent MPs who vote for a certain Prime Minister, have to continue to support that Prime Minister as independent MPs, So the ruling by speaker Nape effectively means all of those United Resources Party MPs who joined after the formation of this government and had initially voted as independents for Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, are now bound by the law to vote for the Prime Minister again."