The National, Thursday August 09th, 2012
By JEFFREY ELAPA
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill’s promised pleasant surprise in the choice of his deputy was revealed yesterday in East New Britain Governor Leo Dion.
Dion, a member of Don Polye’s Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party, was among 22 other cabinet members named yesterday.
No ministries were allocated.
This may indicate the enormous pressure the prime minister is under with 94 members to provide jobs for, a position no other prime minister has contended with since Independence.
Most prominent among those rewarded was Loujaya Toni, the People’s Indigenous Party leader representing the women.
Ten party leaders were sworn in as caretaker ministers last Friday.
This brings to 32 the number of ministers in the O’Neill government, the maximum number allowed under the law.
The new ministries would be announced when the ministerial determinations are prepared and gazetted later this week.
It is understood that the ministries were allocated to parties on a ration of three members to one ministry.
Two parties, the New Generation Party and the People’s United Assembly, which have three members each, were not included in cabinet although they were signatories of the Alotau Accord.
Another party that missed out although they were not part of the Alotau camp but voted for the prime minister is the middle group led by Northern Governor Gary Juffa and Morobe Governor Kelly Naru.
The other smaller parties with one member each such as the Star Alliance were not allocated any ministry.
O’Neill’s People’s National Congress Party, which won 27 seats, was allocated 13 ministries including the prime minister while T.H.E Party, which won 12 seats excluding independent members who joined the party, was rewarded with four ministers, including the deputy prime minister’s post.
The United Resources Party, which has seven members, was given three ministers while People’s Party, National Alliance and the People’s Progress Party, and the independent group were given two ministries each. PPP was awarded the speaker of parliament following the election of Theo Zurenuoc last Friday.
The other parties that were allocated a minister each are the United Party, Social Democratic Party, Our Development Party and the People’s Democratic Movement.