Unclear whether Papua New Guinea opposition has votes to topple Marape

2:45 pm on 28 May 2024
Papua New Guinea parliament in session on 15 February 2024.

Parliament resumes this afternoon but no vote is expected today because the opposition still has to table a new motion. Photo: Loop PNG / Screencapture

The political environment in Papua New Guinea remains very fluid ahead of a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister James Marape.

Parliament resumes this afternoon but no vote is expected today because the opposition still has to table a new motion.

Marape is claiming that his Pangu Pati, which has lost some MPs to the opposition, still has 49 members.

The PNG SUN reports him saying they have the support of 70 MPs in total in the 118 member House, once the MPs in their eight coalition partners are counted.

The opposition's new candidate for prime minister Rainbo Paita said their numbers grew significantly at the weekend when a swathe of Pangu Pati members, including five ministers, joined them.

The previous candidate for prime minister East Sepik governor Allan Bird has formally withdrawn and thrown his support behind Paita.

Meanwhile, Pacnews reports Marape was asked by his supporters in the government, who have been meeting in a camp at the Loloata Resort off the coast of Port Moresby, to resign ahead of any no confidence vote.

The website said the coalition party leaders had highlighted issues such as a lack of progress on key policy initiatives, allegations of corruption and mismanagement, and the government's failure to address the needs of the people.

The Post-Courier is reporting while it is difficult to isolate which side has the most support it will become more obvious once MPs take their seats in the House today.

Reminder from Watchdog on misuse of public funds

Transparency International Papua New Guinea said public funds should not be used to pay for the political camps.

It says all costs should be paid for by each MP and doing otherwise is an abuse of official powers.

The watchdog group also wants the Ombudsman Commission to issue a notice to all Government Departments to remain neutral during this time of political horse trading.

Chair of TIPNG, Peter Aitsi, said the leaders of the political camps, rather than talking about the backing they have,

should issue clear statements on their development priorities and plans to tackle corruption.

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