14 Sep 2011

PNG's parliamentary standoff could stall women's reserved seats law change

6:51 pm on 14 September 2011

The only woman in the Papua New Guinea parliament fears legislation to set up reserved seats for women could be stalled by a lack of numbers.

Dame Carol Kidu has led the campaign for years to have seats set aside for women in the parliament.

She says women's groups are delighted with last week's first reading of the legislation in arliament, but she says the crunch is still to come.

Dame Carol says the legislation will require amendments to the Organic Law and that means an absolute majority of 73 of the 109 MPs supporting it.

But she says last month's controversial toppling of the Somare administration is causing opposition MPs to boycott parliament.

"They're boycotting because in the early stages of this whole thing that went to court one judge said by the very fact that some of them stayed they are basically conceding that the other government is legitimate, and so they are avoiding going on the floor."

Dame Carol Kidu.