21 Mar 2012

PNG Parliamentarians urged not to consider delay in poll

10:43 am on 21 March 2012

As a new session of Parliament begins in Papua New Guinea MPs are being called on not to consider deferring the June election.

Parliament sat Tuesday afternoon amid a push from some senior MPs for a delay in the poll.

They have claimed that the Electoral Commission is not ready - a claim the Commission has rejected.

The Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, has said the poll would go ahead on time but some of his supporters, including deputy prime minister Belden Namah, clearly hold differing views.

The Institute of National Affairs executive director, Paul Barker, says MPs need to recognise that the poll is the voters' opportunity to decide who their representatives should be.

"It is not the time for the parliamentarians themselves to be considering any deferrals. This is the democratic social contract between the public and their elected representatives. We have had a five year term. They have had a five year period in office. It is now the chance for the electorate to decide who they will have representing them for the next five years."