23 Jul 2012

PNG official to rule on planned party swapping

7:06 pm on 23 July 2012

Papua New Guinea's Registrar of Political Parties and Candidates says this week he will make a ruling on a bid to switch political party allegiance by a candidate expected to win the West Sepik regional seat.

Although leading the count to become the new West Sepik Governor, Amkat Mai, has announced his decision to shift from the Triumph Heritage Empowerment party to the PNG Party, even before the conclusion of counting.

Dr Gelu says that while the organic law allows general freedom of movement for MPs, to switch to a party other than the one which endorsed them as a candidate is a breach of the rules.

"Because they were endorsed by political parties, they'll be counted under that party that endorsed them. So their number has to be part of that party until such time as the government is formed. After that, then they can switch parties. We don't want people to abuse the process."

Dr Alphonse Gelu says that the rules regarding movement of MPs need strengthening again.

He ran a series of pre-election workshops to educate political parties about the rules of elections, but says the message didn't get through for many groups.