15 Dec 2011

PNG GG powerless in political wrangling, says analyst

5:43 pm on 15 December 2011

The decision of Papua New Guinea's founding fathers to not provide for Governor-Generals to have an arbitration role is being exposed in the current political deadlock.

The Governor-General's office is the latest to be overwhelmed by the impasse.

Sir Michael Somare and his cabinet were sworn in by the Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio yesterday.

But soon after, the other man claiming to be the Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, used his majority parliamentary support to suspend the Queen's representative and then had himself and his cabinet sworn in by the Speaker as acting Governor-General.

Paul Barker of the Institute of National Affairs says the Governor General is relatively powerless in this predicament.

"They basically decided upon independence when the constitution was put together that the Governor-General would really just have a titular role and he would do everything on advice; and he really hasn't got the discretion to stand back and say, alright I dissolve this parliament and I'll hand the government to this other person in the interim, and then call elections, or any such thing."

Paul Barker