The National – Wednesday, December 15, 2010
By JEFFREY ELAPA
THE Opposition is adamant that it will introduce a motion of no-confidence in sidelined prime minister Sir Michael Somare when parliament meets next month to elect the governor-general.
Although leader of government business Paul Tiensten says the sole purpose of the first session of parliament next year was the election of a vice-regal, opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta said the motion would be introduced after legal opinion was sought.
Sir Mekere and his deputy Bart Philemon said that a motion had been given during the last parliament sitting but it was rejected by the parliamentary standing committee on the grounds that four of the signatories withdrew their support after defecting to the government.
They said this was wrong in nature and the speaker Jeffery Nape had been taken to court over his conduct in parliament and colluding with the government in hijacking the parliamentary process.
Sir Mekere said the prime minister did not under any circumstance voluntarily sideline himself because by law, he automatically was sidelined, did not take office and perform his duties if and when the public prosecutor refers him to the leadership tribunal.
This means that it was an allegation against him until proven innocent and therefore, a vote of no-confidence could be brought against a government that has lost its credibility.
On the question of law specifying that there would be no vote of no-confidence 18 months before the general elections, Sir Mekere said that timing was important therefore the opposition would consult with their lawyers.
If the opposition submits another motion, then, it will be their third attempt after the first two attempts were rejected by the speaker.
Clerk of parliament and the legal officer of parliament could not be contacted yesterday to clarify whether the 18-month grace period had taken effect.