PAP leadership under pressure

National, Normal


THE second biggest party in government, the People’s Action Party (PAP), is under pressure from within its own ranks for leadership changes.
Sources said several party executives and MPs were upset with the current leadership under Maprik MP and Commerce and Industry Minister Gabriel Kapris.
The source said the leader was not serving party interests and holding the party together in the midst of the mooted Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.
Senior PAP executives have been holding meetings over the weekend in Port Moresby discussing the party’s future in the mooted reshuffle.
PAP executives have been talking to the Parliamentary wing believing that the current leadership was not serving party interests in holding talks with its members and relaying that to its coalition partner, the National Alliance (NA) party.
“Party members, fearing that the PAP ministers in the current Cabinet may be affected by the reshuffle, are calling for leadership changes,” a party insider said yesterday.
The source said that since the sidelining of Correctional Services MP Tony Aimo, there had not been a party leadership meeting for solidarity and unity among the members.
PAP currently has Fisheries Minister Ben Semri, Mr Aimo and Mr Kapris holding ministerial portfolios.
They may be affected in the proposed Cabinet reshuffle.
Other members of the party include Koroba-Kopiago MP John Kekeno, Karimui-Nomane MP Posi Menai and Wosera-Gawi MP Ronald Asik.
The PAP has been solid behind NA since 2002 but members fear that their representation in Cabinet may be reduced.
Mr Aimo, when contacted yesterday about the push for leadership changes, refused to comment saying that “this is another attempt by the media to destabilise PAP”.
PAP general secretary Simon Bole also refuted the claims of push for changes, saying that Mr Kapris has the backing of all the MPs in Parliament.