12 Apr 2013

PNG cabinet against merging of small parties

1:38 pm on 12 April 2013

Papua New Guinea's cabinet has rejected a proposal by the Registrar of Political Parties that would force small parliamentary parties to amalgamate with larger ones.

The Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, says the proposal from Dr Alphonse Gelu that parties with five members or less be forced to join larger parties was considered and rejected.

Mr O'Neill says the government feels any person or group of people who wish to establish a political structure that they feel serves their interests must be allowed to do so.

He says this means parties with one or two members must be allowed to continue to exist on the floor of parliament.

Dr Gelu laid out strict recommendations for party registration - including that a party have 2,000 members throughout the country and at least 45,000 US dollars in funds.

The Electoral Commission says there are currently 21 political parties in the 111-seat PNG parliament.