PNG opposition could push for jail terms if vote denied again

3:59 pm on 5 March 2024
Papua New Guinea parliament in session on 15 February 2024.

Papua New Guinea parliament in session on 15 February 2024. Photo: Loop PNG / Screencapture

The opposition in Papua New Guinea may seek jail terms if the government again frustrates its efforts to hold a vote of no confidence.

An attempt last month was stopped amid a reference to the Supreme Court, and accusations from prime minister James Marape that some of the names on their notice of planned motion were forged.

The parliament then staged a vote of confidence in Marape.

Marape has accused opposition MPs of "cutting and pasting signatures" in the no confidence paper submitted to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee.

RNZ Pacific correspondent in PNG, Scott Waide, said the opposition is standing by its notice of motion, and said it is expecting a vote in the last week of May.

He said they have also raised concern about the abuse of power and abuse of parliamentary process.

"The member for Sinasina-Yongamulg Open, Kerenga Kua, who is the former petroleum minister, said if the committee that oversees the notices of motions of no confidence, and the speakter, if they don't entertain this notice from the 20th [February], they will go to the Supreme Court and possibly seek jail terms for the speaker and committee members," Waide said.

Last week, Kua said the Marape government had "subverted the opposition's attempts to make hold them accountable for their actions".

He said Papua New Guineans were "screaming for accountability and "are sick and tired of this government".