By HELEN TARAWA and
THE move by Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas and Esa’ala MP Davis Steven to resign from the People’s National Congress Party is legal, says the registrar of political parties Dr Alphonse Gelu.
He said MPs were allowed to move from one party to another, as per a Supreme Court ruling in 2010 relating to the Organic Law on the integrity of political parties and candidates.
“Under the current law the move by Sir Peter and Esa’ala MP Davis Steven was legal. The restriction was removed by the Supreme Court in 2010. MPs are allowed to move from party to party at their own free will. There is no law stopping MPs from moving around,” Gelu said.
He said the recent movement of MPs was their prerogative.
“The registry has no say in what they decide to do in terms of resigning from a party and moving to another,” he said.
“It is also at this time that parties need to reconsolidate themselves in terms of their numbers and their policies and their memberships.”
Sir Peter, Kompiam-Ambum MP John Pundari, Steven and Dei MP Westley Nukundj had left the People’s Party to join the Peter O’Neill-led People’s National Congress party in May 2017.
On Friday, Sir Peter and Steven resigned to return to their former party now led by Jiwaka Governor William Tongamp.
“We want stability up there and as politicians we will play the game, but we need to look at what is best for the country and the people,” Sir Peter said.
“As a leader, I will always do what is best for the country. It doesn’t matter who runs the country as long as they are doing what is best for the people, they will always get my support.”
Gelu is yet to receive the resignation letters of Tari MP James Marape, Southern Highlands Governor William Powi, Hela Governor Philip Undialu and Komo-Margarima MP Manasseh Makiba.