Govt settles for Ogio

National, Normal

The National- Wednesday, January 12, 2011


THE government will endorse North Bougainville MP and Higher Education Minister Michael Ogio for the position of governor-general.

The parliament resumed yesterday afternoon and called for nominations.

Soon after, the government caucus met and penned 47 signatures on the nomination form for Ogio to contest as its candidate for the GG’s post.

Parliament was recalled to vote in a new governor-general following a Supreme Court ruling last month declaring the reappointment of Sir Paulias Matane as unconstitutional.

If Ogio wins the secret ballot election, he would automatically resign as member for North Bougainville and lose his ministerial portfolio.

Names of three other candidates – Sir Paulias, Sir Makena Geno and Winnie Kiap – were also tossed in alongside Ogio for the caucus to consider, however, they would now have to look for support elsewhere to nominate.

Acting parliament Speaker Francis Marus fixed Friday at 10am as the time and day for the secret ballot to be conducted.

The clerk’s office was swamped with more than 15 candidates rushing to obtain the nomination forms to be filled and handed in by 4pm today after complying with all the requirements.

Those seen in the clerk’s office included Sir Makena, Sir Matiabe Yuwi, Sir Pita Lus, Akoka Doi, Ronald Rimbao and Kagul Korowa.

Marus said while the Organic Law did make provisions for the proposal forms to be returned at anytime before the start of voting, as a matter of good administrative practice and taking into account the Supreme Court interpretation of the law, it was recommended that the forms be submitted to the clerk in sufficient time.

“This will allow him to scrutinise the forms and make informed decisions on the requirements under the Organic Law.

“Should a proposal for nomination be rejected, the aggrieved person will have sufficient time to appeal to the National Court.”

Under law, a candidate must have no less than 15 members of parliament supporting him.

“If we comply with all the requirements, I expect no more than six proposals to be handed to the clerk by tomorrow (today),” the acting speaker told parliament.

“Similarly, I urge all members to act responsibly when proposing or signing on behalf of a candidate. 

“Careless writing on these forms will have dramatic consequences,” he warned.

On Dec 10 last year, the Supreme Court declared the June 25, 2010, election of Sir Paulias null and void.

The bench also ordered the acting speaker, in accordance with section 88(4) of the constitution, to call a meeting of parliament to elect a new governor-general within 40 days of the order.