26 Apr 2012

PNG groups assured by PM election will go ahead in June

7:20 pm on 26 April 2012

Papua New Guinea trade union leaders, churches and civil society groups have met the Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, and received assurances that the elections will go ahead on time, with writs to be issued on May the 18th.

This comes amid signs of an ongoing battle with some members of Mr O'Neill's coalition pressing for a delay in the June poll, with claims the electoral commission will not be ready.

Protest rallies were held in Port Moresby this week and while schools and some businesses shut their doors, wider disruption did not occur.

Widespread strikes had been threatened but the president of the Trades Union Congress, Michael Malabag, says after today's assurances this now seems unlikely.

"We will be reviewing our stand, but look, if the guarantee of the elections is May 18th there is nothing to benefit if we are going to withhdraw services because everything was dependent on what was going to happen. Now we have got a guarantee of May 18th, the Judicial Bill is before the courts, so basically there is nothing else for us to keep pushing, but then it will be dependent on all my trade union affiliates."