Abal’s future with NA uncertain

Main Stories, National

The National – Thursday, June 23, 2011

ACTING Prime Minister Sam Abal’s future as a member of the ruling National Alliance party remains uncertain following acceptance by the party’s national executive committee of a regional resolution pushing for his dismissal from the party.
NA president Simon Kaiwi said yesterday that the executive committee had accepted the resolution from the regional highlands NA executives meeting last Thursday, pushing for the sacking of Abal from the party over his decommissioning of NA deputy highlands leader Don Polye as foreign affairs, trade and immigration minister.
The faction said Polye’s sacking was “not in the best interest of the party” and called for his (Polye’s) reinstatement as a minister.
Kaiwi said the supreme governing body of the party, the national council of the NA, met on Monday and Tuesday but did not deliberate on the highlands’ resolution as it had come in late and was still with the national executive committee.
On the matter of whether or not the executives had been consulted by the acting prime minister on the sackings and the reshuffles, Kaiwi said: “The party has given advice but the final decision rests always with the prime minister.”
He would not discuss what advice the party might have given Abal but it was certain, reading between the lines, that the sacking of Polye did not constitute part of the executive’s brief to Abal.
While the ruling party puzzled over these matters, at least two other coalition parties were also in meetings of their own over the recent happenings in government.
The People’s National Congress was yesterday afternoon considering whether or not to remain a part of the government following the relegation of its leader, Peter O’Neill, to the ministry of works and transport from finance and treasury.
O’Neill refused to turn up at Government House for the swearing-in of new ministers yesterday afternoon and was said to be considering resigning his commission.
A withdrawal by PNC from government would mean the resignation of another PNC cabinet member and Minister for Provincial Affairs and Local Level Government Job Pomat. 
No decision was arrived at last night as a meeting, scheduled for yesterday afternoon, did not eventuate because executives of the party were yet to get to Port Moresby.
The second largest party in government, United Resources Party, was also in a dilemma with the party split in two.
Party leader William Duma claimed he had sacked Francis Potape and party founder Anderson Agiru from the party but both men claimed due process was not followed, a position supported yesterday by the Registrar of Political Parties and Candidates, Sir Kina Bona.
Agiru said “there was no such meeting of the party”,  referring to a meeting last Friday by certain unnamed members of URP which resolved to sack him.
“There are 16 members of URP.
“Check who has signed this nonsense (statement).”
Duma claimed the two had been sacked for undermining the party and alleged collaboration leading
to his (Dumas) removal from cabinet.
Two other members of URP also denied knowledge of the meeting and the statement purporting to sack Agiru.
To deepen the issue, the supposedly sacked URP member, Francis Potape, has landed his party leader’s old job as minister for petroleum and energy.