Domestic Politics. Papua New Guinea press review

Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG) Hon. James Marape is confident that any attempt to move a vote of no confidence against his coalition government will fail. According to Mr. Marape, his 31 Pangu Pati MPs and the 60-plus members of coalition parties made up around 90% of the PNG Parliament. «We also have a strong pact with our coalition partners – the National Party, United Resources Party, United Labour Party, National Alliance, People’s Party and People’s Progress Party, » Mr. Marape stated. Earlier PNG Prime Minister welcomed to Port Moresby Pangu Pati member Aiye Tambua who has just won the Goroka seat in a by-election. However, Mr. Marape accused former PNG prime minister and, currently, Ialibu-Pangia (Southern Highlands Province) MP Peter O’Neill of being behind the speculations. [1-3]

In response to recent comments made by former PM Peter O’Neill, PNG Prime Minister Hon. James Marape said that The prime minister’s seat is not a birthright: «This country is bigger than PO (Peter O’Neill) or JM (James Marape), » Mr. Marape said. [4-5]

However, Opposition Leader Belden Namah said that he would move a motion of no confidence against Mr. Marape when the 18-month grace period for a new government ends on the 30th of November 2020. Parliament is expected to sit from the 10th of November for the tabling of the 2021 National Budget. Marape was responding to these statements that his government was trying to clean up the mess created by Mr. O’Neill in the past eight years. Moreover, according to PNG Prime Minister, «MPs are not keen on causing instability in the country through yet another no-confidence vote [by] Mr. Namah and Mr. O’Neill». [6-7]

PNG Prime Minister also says that the Government aims to run the biometric voting system and cameras in the 2022 National Elections. The system had been trialed at several recent elections, including the Goroka Open by-election. «It is 18 months away but we will allocate some money in the 2021 national budget to tidy up preparations for the 2022 National Elections, » Mr. Marape said. [8]

James Marape has directed the chairman of the National Procurement Commission (NPC) to amend the National Procurement Act to enable local contractors to apply for contracts valued at PGK50 million (US$14 million) (earlier the ceiling for the contracts from PGK10 million, US$2,8 million). «In 100% government-funded projects, we must ensure that local contractors get first preference […] As the government, our first responsibility is to the growth of SMEs [small to medium enterprises] in the country, » Mr. Marape stated. [9]

It’s also expected, that PNG former prime minister Mr. Peter O’Neil, charged with misappropriation and official corruption in relation to two diesel generators bought from Israel in 2013, is to appear in the Waigani Committal Court (Port Moresby) on the 22nd of October to hear prosecution’s submission on sufficiency of evidence against him. Allegations into Mr. O’Neill’s case also involves Opposition Leader Belden Namah lodging a formal complaint against him in 2014. [10]

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