NA opts out

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THE National Alliance Party has withdrawn from the Government coalition led by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, but may negotiate a return if the outcome of the general election warrants it.
Party leader and Aitape-Lumi MP Patrick Pruaitch, ousted last Thursday as Treasury Minister by O’Neill, said party members agreed to go back to the people and seek a fresh mandate from them.
In July 2012, after the O’Neill’s People’s National Congress Party  (PNC) won the biggest number of seats, and was invited to form the government, he invited the major parties including the National Alliance to form a coalition government.
The meeting by the party leaders in Alotau ended with the signing the Alotau Accord. Yesterday, O’Neill welcomed the decision by the NA party to sever ties with the coalition thanking it for its “support over the past five years and commitment to the policies and economic decisions of the Government”.
Pruaitch said yesterday the party would be open to negotiations with the O’Neill-led PNC and other political parties after the elections.
“We will go for elections as we are. After the elections, there is always a negotiation period and we are open to it,” Pruaitch said.
Pruaitch welcomed O’Neill’s decision to move him out as Treasury Ministere.
“The Prime Minister has the prerogative of commissioning and de-commissioning ministers and we respect that,” he said.
“It’s an opportunity for the National Alliance to go to the polls and seek a mandate from our people.”
The party also hopes to win enough seats to form the next government.
It is fielding 74 candidates.
Party president Walter Schanubelt said the decision to sideline Pruaitch meant that the whole party was being sidelined by the Government.  He thanked O’Neill and the PNC for the confidence they had in the NA in the past five years.