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Leader of the National Alliance party and Papua New Guinea Opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch Tuesday announced their defection (19 members) from the opposition to the government.
The announcement was made before few of his strong party members who included East Sepik Governor Allan Bird, Namatanai MP Walter Snaubelt, Kavieng MP Ian Ling-Stuckey and Kairuku Hiri MP Peter Isoaimo.
At the end of last month,Bird, Snaubelt and Ling-Stuckey moved when Prime Minister James Marape also appointed Ling-Stuckey as the country’s Treasurer during a minor reshuffle.
Yangoru-Saussia MP Richard Maru, a member of People’s National Congress party was dumped as National Planning Minister and the Prime Minister asked the PNC party to move to the opposition.
In Tuesday’s announcement Pruaitch said their agenda to join the Marape-Steven government was to form an alliance that could develop strategies to rescue the country from a ‘turbulent’ period.
He said they believed they had experiences which they could use working with the government to develop strategies in rescuing the country.
He highlighted issues of high debt, reduced foreign reserves, huge borrowings and a mismatch between budgets and actual delivery of services such as health and education particularly to rural areas- challenges they need to work on.
“We feel that together we can,” he said.
“Our people deserve this.”
He said they also share similar development views envisioned by the Marape –Steven government besides they were the part of the team that pushed for a change in government in May camping at the Laguna Hotel and it was fitting they team up.
Prime Minister James Marape has accepted the National Alliance team.
“They bring to us an additional experience and firepower as we work to take back PNG from greed and corruption and ensure that we work together to make Papua New Guinea the richest black Christian nation,” he said.
“The work that lies in front of us is greater, especially due to the fact that our economy is in stagnation, but I know our combined efforts will do well for our country.”
The Prime Minister commended Pruaitch for putting aside personal interests and allow the country’s interest to take precedence.
“We look forward and embrace this political partnership for the betterment of our country going forward,” Marape said.
Pruaitch recently filed a Supreme Court reference to interpret whether the election of Marape as Prime Minister in May was legal and last week the Supreme Court ruled Pruaitch had standing as the Opposition leader and a citizen to bring the case to court.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister James Marape has described as “false” and “fake news” rumours of a possible new Deputy Prime Minister.
He told the media during the announcement of the move of the remaining National Alliance party members in the opposition to government, that since a letter was delivered to his office, former Opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch has not requested for any ministry.
“Patrick Pruaitch has given me a letter stating the principles of why they have moved, I am encouraged by the letter, it’s not seeking a job but more about policies they want to contribute to the government, he said.
“They are coming here to contribute to the policies of the government (and) let’s not forget (that)Pruaitch is coming from a high office, forfeiting the privileges of being the alternate PM and come be an ordinary member and maintain his party leadership; that is a huge sacrifice that he has made.
“Never at one time did he request for a ministry, he said I am coming across to assist with policy for the government. Bringing with him 19 members across comes with huge demands in the government structure, but they have not placed any demands for places in cabinet.”
The only member of the National Alliance that has a ministry is Ian Ling-Stuckey who is the Treasurer.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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