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The Papua New Guinea Opposition camp has called on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to resign immediately to avoid being voted out in a non-confidence motion when Parliament resumes tomorrow.
Tari-Pori MP James Marape said the vote of no-confidence against O’Neill by the Opposition, which now has a majority in Parliament of 63 MPs, would still go ahead as planned.
Marape was responding to the decision by O’Neill to step down “in the coming days” and handing over the rein to Sir Julius Chan as prime minister. Marape said O’Neill had no authority to appoint a prime minister.
He said Sir Julius was not a minister in O’Neill’s Cabinet and his announcement to step down and be replaced by Sir Julius was a “clown act done at Clown Camp”.
“O’Neill, if he is serious, must submit his official resignation to the governor-general and the Speaker of Parliament tomorrow (today),” Marape said.
Marape said 14 cabinet ministers had resigned after expressing their lack of confidence in O’Neill and the right thing for him to do now was to resign immediately.
“Either way, we have already formed the alternative government with a manpower of 63, and will do so through a vote of no-confidence if he does not officially resign,” he said.
Marape said in the event that O’Neill resigned, they would have to elect a new prime minister in Parliament.
“Either way, the Laguna Camp with 63 MPs will be the one to form the new government,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the People’s National Congress Party he leads remains the biggest party in Parliament with 27 MPs.
O’Neill who is stepping down and handing over the reins to former prime minister and New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan said the recent “movement” of MPs had indicated a need for a change.
There are 48 MPs remaining in the Government as of Sunday.
“I want to assure our members particularly PNC supporters throughout the country that we will provide the numbers. We are still the largest party in government. We will provide the numbers for the stability of our country,” he said.
“Some of those who had come to join us in the last two years have left and created other parties or joined other parties for their affiliation. It’s not easy when you have a large number of members moving to and fro. We are a government that listens to the people and tried our best to deliver to their expectations. All good things come to an end and our duty as a nation and leaders is to make sure we work for our people.”
He said Sir Julius was a “veteran leader and one of the founding fathers” of PNG.
“We will support him joined by Sam Basil, a young vibrant leader who had showed great discipline and loyalty in providing stability that the government needs. With our deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel and other leaders of PNC and other minor coalition partners, we maintained a solid government. Some of the outspoken governors who wanted this change now have an opportunity to support Sir Julius, said Marape.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
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