No-confidence vote bid ruined

Main Stories, National

The National- Wednesday, January 12, 2011



THE proposed vote of no-confidence by the opposition against Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and his government will not take place.

The opposition yesterday failed to deliver a motion on the proposed vote to the office of the acting Speaker, Francis Marus, despite an assurance by senior opposition member Sir Puka Temu.

As such, Marus declared that he would not entertain any other business except that of the election of a new governor-general.

Parliament resumed yesterday afternoon and called for nominations for the position of governor-general.l

Soon after, the government caucus met and penned 47 signatures on the nomination form for North Bougainville MP and Higher Education Minister Michael Ogio to contest as its candidate.

Parliament was recalled following a Supreme Court ruling last month declaring the reappointment of Sir Paulias Matane as unconstitutional.

During that period, from Dec 10 last year, the opposition had publicly made known its intention to try and push through a vote of no-confidence motion against the government of Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.

Acting parliament Speaker Francis Marus had 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.

Candidates vying for the position had swamped the corridors of parliament after nominations opened as they dashed from one MP’s office to another looking for signatures.

They were required to collect 15 signatures to make them eligible to contest the vice-regal’s chair.

Their first stop was at the clerk’s office for the nomination forms before dashing off in search of MPs. One MP could only back one candidate, with six possible nominees expected by the offices of the clerk and acting speaker of parliament.

Among those sighted were Ronald Rimbao, Sir Pato Kakaraya, Sir Makena Geno, Sir Matiabe Yuwi, Sir Barry Holloway, Kagul Korowa and women candidates Enny Moatz and Winnie Kiap.

Marus said the election of the vice-regal would take precedence over all other businesses in compliance with the court order.

He said this was an emergency situation, under section 88(4) of the constitution, and the only business would be to vote in a new GG.

The government yesterday muscled up its numerical strength of more than 67 members for a quorum to start the session, with opposition members slowly walking in as the acting speaker made his nomination statement.

Leader of government business Paul Tiensten said last night that the election of the governor-general would take precedence.

He admitted that the government did not have any other business to deal with until May when parliament next meets.

“The recall of parliament is restricted only for the GG’s election.”

He urged that the process of nomination be completed between now and Friday and not subjected to legal challenges in future.

“Our job is to ensure the process goes smoothly and is not derailed again. 

“The government needs to show solidarity and maturity by resolving to have one candidate in on Friday.”