21 Jul 2010

PNG Somare Government appears to have upper hand in power struggle

10:53 am on 21 July 2010

Despite predictions, a motion for a vote of no confidence in the Papua New Guinea Government was not put forward yesterday, with commentators saying it shows Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has shored up his support.

A vote seemed likely after four Cabinet Ministers defected to the Opposition yesterday with former Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Puka Temu, becoming the new leader of the Opposition.

Political scientist Dr Alfonse Gelu says people expected the motion to be put but he says PNG politics is very fluid and the Opposition didn't have the numbers that it had boasted of on Monday night.

He says the Government appears to have the support of around 60 of the 109 MPs.

"I think from the period now until around next week there will be intense lobbying taking place. And it has appeared in the media that a large sum of money has been thrown around by both camps. But I think it is more with the Government which has about six hundred million kina to buy support. And this is exactly what is happening and has happened in the past."