The National, Wednesday 25th July, 2012
By CLEMENT KAUPA
AN outline for the ninth national government is already taking shape now that prominent political parties have entered into dialogue. Peter O’Neill’s leading People’s National Congress party is already in talks with runner-up People’s Progress Party (PPP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), National Alliance (NA), People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and the People’s United Assembly (PUA).
As of yesterday, PNC made another significant jump with three declarations in Gordon Wesley for Samarai-Murua open, Michael Malabag for Moresby Northwest and new face Nixon Duban for Madang open, bringing to total 20 declared MPs. That also included member-elect for North Bougainville Louta Atoi, who is in the PNG Party camp but lawfully recognised as a PNC member under the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC).With the combination of PPP, NA, PDM, SDP and PUA, PNC is already anticipating an invitation by the governor-general to form government.
There are indications too that Belden Namah and PNG Party are likely to hook up with Don Polye’s Triumph Heritage Empowerment (T.H.E) Party over in West New Britain province.
These strategic developments will draw a bold political faultline that will prompt every other political party into choosing a side and the political horse-trading is set to intensify over the next couple of days.
PNC has moved into Alotau, Milne Bay province, to set up camp. T.H.E Party is expected to camp in West New Britain.Both parties are expected to intensively lobby for the many smaller and under-performing parties to bolster their numbers now that they cannot pluck MP-elects who are endorsed by other parties.
Under OLIPPAC, endorsed candidates who have won seats cannot switch parties until after the formation of government and the election of a prime minister.
This also applies to independent candidates who cannot take up party membership until a speaker is elected on the floor. That will happen soon after the formation of government and just before the election of a prime minister.