24 May 2012

Political arm wrestle damaging for integrity of PNG's rule of law, says academic

8:08 pm on 24 May 2012

A political scientist says Papua New Guinea's political turmoil has significantly damaged the rule of law in the country.

On Monday, the Supreme Court reiterated its December ruling that Sir Michael Somare was illegally removed from office as Prime Minister last year.

The rival Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has called the ruling illegal and insists his regime remains caretaker government ahead of the June election.

Jon Fraenkel, a professor in comparative politics at Victoria University of Wellington, says the showdown between the judiciary and the legislature is unhealthy for PNG.

"It's very difficult for the O'Neill government to argue anything other than that they continue to rule in defiance of the rule of law. So in the long run that's very, very damaging for the integrity of the rule of law in a country like PNG. It's a country where the rule of law is anyway very precarious."

Jon Fraenkel