PNG court to hear application from Bougainville President

9:02 am on 3 April 2020

The Papua New Guinea Supreme Court will next Thursday hear an application from the Bougainville president on whether he can stand in this year's election.

John Momis is seeking the court's view after Bougainville MPs defeated the government's move to change the Constitution to allow presidents to fill the role for a third term.

The Supreme Court in Papua New Guinea.

The Supreme Court in Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZI/Johnny Blades

Mr Momis has been president for two terms but said people have been pleading for him to stand again.

He said it's vital there's continuity as Bougainville begins negotiations over the outcome of its referendum on independence from PNG.

Mr Momis has suggested that the Speaker of the Bougainville Parliament, Simon Pentanu, erred when he allowed three ex-combatant MPs to vote, as, he claims, their voting rights ended when the referendum was conducted in November.

There was also a matter of a seat in the House left vacant after the death of an MP, and Mr Momis claims Mr Pentanu was wrong to say 27 votes were required for change.

Bougainville President John Momis

Bougainville President John Momis Photo: supplied

Rather he said the 25 MPs supporting the change was enough for the absolute majority needed.

The same parliamentary sitting also changed the constitution to allow the ex-combatant seats to be contested in this year's election.