27 Sep 2014

PNG's Basil says backbenchers key

10:26 am on 27 September 2014

Opponents of the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill within parliament are playing a wait-and-see game over possible opportunities to remove him.

The government last year passed an amendment which increased the grace period for motions of no-confidence from 18 to 30 months following an election.

That period will elapse early next year, although the opposition has mounted several court challenges to the extension which are still pending.

While Mr O'Neill enjoys a huge majority within parliament, the deputy opposition leader Sam Basil says government backbenchers may hold the key to power once an opening emerges.

"We believe that there are frustrated members of parliament who have seen what the Prime Minister and his team of business friends are doing to the economy. And I believe that when the opportunity arises, we may have most of these members expressing their opinions through their votes. So we just hope and wait and see."

The deputy opposition leader Sam Basil in Papua New Guinea.