By MALUM NALU
THE first sitting of the new Parliament is scheduled for Friday next week, according to acting Clerk to Parliament Kala Aufa.
The Speaker and Prime Minister are expected to be elected on that day.
Aufa told The National yesterday that Parliament had been gazetted to begin sitting on Monday. But this had to be cancelled because of the delay in the counting of votes in some electorates.
Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae on Sunday allowed Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato until Friday to return the writs.
“Because of the extension of return of writs to July 28, we also extended our first parliament meeting date by another seven days,” Aufa said.
He said the fixing of the time and date of the first meeting of Parliament was going to be gazetted yesterday.
Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato told The National yesterday that he would return the writs on Friday afternoon to Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae.
But he is not expecting to return all the 111 writs because some electorates will still be continuing with counting then.
“Hopefully, by Friday, we should have 80 to 85 writs (to be returned),” he said.
According to the official programme, the first sitting of Parliament will begin at 10am next Friday.
To begin the formal proceedings, Aufa will make a statement and read the National Gazette notice calling Parliament to meet.
Then the Sergeant-at-Arms will announce the arrival of Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and conducts him to the Speaker’s chair.
After a prayer, Sir Salamo will hand the commission from Sir Bob to the Sheriff of Papua New Guinea, who then passes it on to Aufa to read to Parliament.
Aufa then lays on the table the writs for the election and informs members to stand in their places and make their declarations before Sir Salamo.
Aufa will then call on MPs to come forward in the manner in which their electorates are announced to sign the declarations before Sir Salamo.
He then conducts the election of the Speaker. The elected Speaker is conducted to the chair by the proposer and the seconder, and takes the chair.
The Speaker-elect thanks MPs, and Parliament is then suspended, as he proceeds to Government House to present himself to the Governor-General. Sir Bob will formally congratulate the Speaker and administers the Declaration of Office of the Speaker, and hands him a commission authorising him to administer the Declaration of Loyalty and the Declaration of Office of MPs.
The Speaker then returns to Parliament where the sitting resumes with the election of the Prime Minister.
The nominee who receives the most votes will be declared the Prime Minister-elect.
He is then conducted to the PM’s chair by the proposer and seconder, and is congratulated by the Speaker.
Party leaders and MPs may then congratulate the PM-elect, who then proceeds to Government House to present himself to Sir Bob. Parliament is then adjourned for two weeks.
Meanwhile, various political parties are now holding retreats with their potential coalition partners in an effort to form the government.
The ruling People’s National Congress Party, leading with 21 seats so far, is holding a retreat with its coalition partners in Alotau, Milne Bay.
Another group led by Bulolo MP Sam Basil’s Pangu Pati is camping in Eastern Highlands.
By MALUM NALU