30 May 2012

Despite PM's election, PNG treasurer says there was no vacancy

6:36 pm on 30 May 2012

The treasurer in Papua New Guinea's O'Neill administration says that there was no vacancy in the position of prime minister despite MPs' latest election of a new head of government.

Parliament was dissolved two weeks ago in the run-up to the June general election but has reconvened twice since then.

On Tuesday, the deputy speaker, Francis Marus, declared a vacancy in the position of prime minister after accepting a court ruling that Peter O'Neill wasn't duly elected last August.

In today's election, Mr O'Neill stood unopposed for the position, winning 56 votes.

Don Polye, who seconded Mr O'Neill's nomination, says Mr Marus's decision to declare a vacancy was based on different legal advice to theirs.

"In other words, there is no vacancy available in the position of Prime Minister although O'Neill was in as a defacto government and the advice we got from the Attorney General and his secretary is that everything is alright and we don't need to go back to parliament to elect a new Prime Minister."

Don Polye