The National, Tuesday 13th December 2011
PARLIAMENT’s coup to re-elect Peter O’Neill minutes after his government was ousted by the Supreme Court nearly ended in bloodshed as police officers prevented him from being sworn in at Government House last night.
Speaker Jeffery Nape was regularly informed of the court proceedings when leader of government business Moses Maladina brought forward government agenda for debate on the budget.
As soon as the court ruling of 3-2 was communicated to the speaker, he briefly left the chair and was believed to confer with O’Neill, Chris Haiveta, and chief of staff Ben Micah before executing the next move.
Nape then entered the chamber interrupting Lae MP Bart Philemon who was making his budget statement.
The speaker informed parliament that the Supreme Court had ruled that there was no vacancy. But Nape said a vacancy did occur by the decision of parliament last Friday to rescind leave of absence granted to Sir Michael which was duly signed into effect by the governor-general and gazetted to remove him as the East Sepik MP.
Nape also said parliament, again, yesterday morning made amendments to the Prime Minister and NEC Amendment Bill, effectively removing Sir Michael as prime minister. This was carried by a 71-0
vote and certified.
Given these facts, Nape said there was a vacancy in the office of the prime minister and called for nominations.
Member for Anglimp-South Waghi Jamie Maxtone-Graham nominated O’Neill, seconded by Hagen MP William Duma.