MPs in uproar as PNG parliament adjourns

By Ilya Gridneff, July 29, 2009 – 3:37PM

Angry scenes erupted in Papua New Guinea’s parliament after the government avoided a motion of no-confidence by adjourning the session until November.

MPs hurled abuse at each other across the chamber and security officers had to restrain members of the public who voiced their frustration when the government won the adjournment vote on Wednesday.

Opposition Leader and former prime minister Mekere Morauta said Prime Minister Michael Somare’s government was running scared, so much so that they broke constitutional laws to avoid the no-confidence vote.

Morauta told a media conference after the vote that parliament had only sat for 29 days and the adjournment meant they would miss the required 63 days sitting time for the year.

“Yesterday Somare said he had the numbers to block a vote of no-confidence, today he adjourned.

“The government is worried, it is fractured.

“He is afraid to face the music, the constitution, he will go down in history as someone who has threatened democracy,” Morauta said.

The opposition would go to PNG’s Supreme Court and refer Somare, Parliamentary Speaker Jeffery Nape and the leader of government business Paul Tiensten to the Ombudsman Commission for violating the constitution, he said.

Deputy Opposition Leader Bart Philemon compared Somare to “a serial rapist” and “serial murderer”.

“Somare is a leader who acts in a similar manner, demonstrating he is above the law,” he said.

Opposition member Julius Chan, also a former prime minister, said PNG was not in political limbo but “now in hell”.

Western Province Governor Bob Danaya, who has sided with the opposition, said there was a big split within government based on principle.

“They are destroying this country,” he said.

Six other government backbench members listed a series of scandals and corruption as their reasons for swapping sides.

“This has come from within the government, from us, we are dissatisfied and angry,” MP Jamie Maxtone-Graham said.

Somare on Tuesday said he had the government’s full support and the numbers to defeat a no-confidence vote.

But on Wednesday the government opted for a successful 56 to 32 vote to adjourn parliament until November 10.

A government spokesman said the adjournment was to allow for “much needed refurbishments” to parliament house.

© 2009 AAP

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3 thoughts on “MPs in uproar as PNG parliament adjourns

  1. Thank you Ilya, for keeping us in the loop, despite your blog being censored. Thanx too, Emmanuel.

    The sounds of the upset Members after the decision were on Northern Territory ABC radio yesterday afternoon, but your story adds some meat.

    Thanx again.

  2. All these pollies are “serial rapists” and “serial murderers”, thinking they are above the law…interesting how the demo-crazy of this country functions

  3. Michael Somare is notorious for undermining parliamentary democracy in PNG. He has once again shown this in this particular instance with the able assistance from his puppy dogs Tiensten and Nape. I hope Sir Mekere pursues them fully through the OC and our judiciary system and prosecutes the hell out of them.

    This guy (MS) and a handful of his cohorts are fast showing traits of dictatorial behaviour and must be brought back under control. Empty drums like Luther Wenge have once again rolled themselves down the streets and make a lot of noise to try and drown out the voices of reason.

    If there is any Somare sympathiser MP out there who is lucky enough to read this post, my message to you is to stop treating your cult hero like a god because he is not. You are worshipping him to the extent you can no longer observe common parliamentary decency. This does not apply to Wenge because he has lost his head and can not listen anymore.

    LONG LIVE MORAUTA and down with Somare.

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