The National – Wednesday, December 29, 2010
By JEFFREY ELAPA
THE election of the governor-general takes precedence over all parliament business when the acting speaker, Francis Marus, recalls parliament on Jan 11 as directed by the Supreme Court.
Marus, who is Talasea MP, told The National yesterday that any other government and opposition business, such as the proposed vote of no-confidence motion, would not be entertained. He said parliament had been recalled to elect a vice-regal.
The Supreme Court had, on Dec 10, ruled that the July reappointment of Sir Paulias Matane as governor-general for a second term was unconstitutional.
Marus said parliament would sit for a few weeks until the appointment was formalised and the new governor-general sworn in by the chief justice.
In their ruling early this month, a five-judge Supreme Court bench ruled that Speaker Jeffrey Nape had presided over the nomination and election processes of the vice-regal in parliament when he was, in fact, the acting governor-general.Marus said he would adjourn the house for recess after the formalities of a new vice-regal were completed.
Parliament was due to meet for its first session next May.
However, opposition sources told The National that they would make a final attempt to submit a notice for a vote of no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.
They said the two previous motions were not entertained by Nape, and they would make another attempt on Jan 11.
They appealed to the acting speaker to consider the motion as a matter of national interest and allow it to go through.
National parliament workers said public notices would be sent out today notifying MPs of the Jan 11 sitting.
Meanwhile, Attorney-General Sir Arnold Amet also brushed aside claims of a vacancy in the prime minister’s post following Sir Michael’s decision to step aside.
Sir Arnold said Sir Michael was still the prime minister as he was on voluntarily leave awaiting the tribunal.