By HELEN TARAWA
PARLIAMENT will not allow a motion of no confidence to be moved against the Government in the November sitting because the 18-month grace period will be still in force, an official says.
Clerk to Parliament Kala Aufa clarified yesterday that the 18-month grace period allowed for a new government began when James Marape was sworn in on May 30, 2019 and would end on Nov 30, 2020.
Section 145 of the Constitution explains in detail how and when a motion of no confidence against the prime minister or a minister can take place.
Parliament will sit from Nov 10 for the tabling of the 2021 national budget session which usually takes at the most two weeks.
Thus it is expected to rise before Nov 30.
He also pointed out that the same section of the constitution also requires that no such motion can be moved against the government 12 months before the next general election.
Aufa told The National it meant that the next grace period would begin on July 29 next year to the issuing of writs for the general election in 2022.
It means that any motion of no confidence against the Marape-led government can be moved during any of the Parliament sittings between Nov 30, 2020 and July 29, 2021 – around seven months.
Aufa was responding to speculation that a motion of no confident was expected to be moved in the next sitting of Parliament.
Prime Minister James Marape told The National that PNG was a democratic country and any MP had the right to move a motion of no confidence against him.
“The PM’s seat is not my birthright. In the meantime, I am at work,” Marape said.
He said around 90 MPs in the 111-seat Parliament were on his side.
Leader of the Opposition Belden Namah said a motion of no confidence was a legal requirement “to measure the prime minister’s and his government’s performance against the delivery of its policies and programmes”.
“If the prime minister has delivered (his) targets during his 18 months in office, then he does not need to look over his shoulder and worry about motions of no confidence,” Namah said.
Meanwhile, Telefomin MP Solan Mirisim urged Namah, the only MP from West Sepik in the Opposition, to abandon talks on a motion of no confidence and work with the four MPs from West Sepik in Government.
“Together we can achieve a lot for the province, working as a team.
The Government’s numbers are intact.
Our coalition is solid. Marape will lead us to the polls in 2022,” Mirisim said.
By HELEN TARAWA