The National, Tuesday 23rd April 2013
By SHIRLYN BELDEN
WHILE the system allows freedom to form political parties we must also be realistic with the impacts it gives to the politics of the country, Political Parties registrar Dr Alphonse Gelu says.
He made the remarks last week in light of the responses from the revised Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties (OLIPPAC) that calls for amalgamation of political parties with less than five members.
Gelu said the number of political parties in PNG was high (46) with many small parties that were financially and organisationally weak.
He added that as the responsibility of Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPCC) was to facilitate and guide the development and running of political parties to secure political stability, the commission was dealing with real nature of such matters by revising the OLIPPAC to give meaning to the politics of the country.
“How can we have a vibrant political climate when we have small parties running around without making any positive impact to the development of the country? Also I have come to realise the hardships of the small parties, they are organisationally and financially poor. How can they continue to survive under the current political climate?
“While I appreciate the fact that the system does allow the freedom to form political associations like political parties we must also be realistic in terms of forming political parties that are small in membership, do not have the funds and would not make an impact to the politics of the country,” he said.
Last week, The National reported presidents of two small political parties, Pangu Pati and Our Development Party saying the merging of parties with members less than five under the revised OLIPPAC is a dangerous trend and indirectly limits political development.
Meanwhile, Gelu warned that political parties that failed to pay their fines of K5,000 could face deregistration.
The warning also extends to MPs for noncompliance with providing their election returns who would face the Ombudsman Commission for breach of the Leadership Code.
Gelu said the date for submission of election and annual returns was last Nov 7.
“The number of political parties that have not complied to provide returns or pay their fines is disappointing and I will be sitting down with my officers to assess the parties and would make a decision whether to keep them or deregister them.
“The MPs must be reminded that failure to comply with the requirements of the OLIPPAC would lead to the registrar referring them to the Ombudsman Commission”.
To date, 25 of the 111 MPs have not submitted any financial returns while 86 have. Of the 86 MPs, 51 submitted their returns late and were fined K2,000 but only 12 have paid their fines.
As for political parties 11 have submitted their returns before Nov 7, 2012. Sixteen were fined K5000 for lateness and only one party has paid its fine. The rest (19) have not submitted anything nor paid their fines.
“The IPPCC has been lenient to the MPs and parties concerned and has again urged all to meet the requirements as the OLIPPAC stipulates.” Gelu said.