By BARNABAS ORERE PONDROS
OPPOSITION leader Sir Mekere Morauta has put Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare on notice that the conditions are right, and he is ready to change the Government.There is an obvious “fatal fracture” with the ruling National Alliance party and its coalition partners and the Opposition “is poised to strike” with a vote of no-confidence, Sir Mekere said yesterday.
“There is definitely a great deal of unhappiness in the National Alliance camp and it is causing a rift between the coalition partners,” Sir Mekere said.
“The National Alliance is fatally fractured and implacably divided,” he said based on observations from the recent announcement by Sir Michael of a major reshuffle to his Cabinet and the in-fighting in the NA NGI camp.
He claimed the Prime Minister offered three important ministries to Opposition MPs.
The Moresby North-west MP said with the Supreme Court decision of the validity of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC) looming, “the NA-led Government knows their days are numbered”.
“The Opposition is poised to strike, we are together and politics is a numbers game.”
He said the current rift within the NA camp was also affecting coalition partners and these were signs of the Government becoming unstable.
Political commentators are predicting that a reshuffle or news of what may transpire may cause disgruntled coalition partners to switch camps and a vote of no-confidence is imminent.
Sir Mekere said the Opposition was ready to push for a vote of no-confidence against the Government “when the time comes”.
He said the Prime Minister had offered three important ministries to Opposition MPs, including the Police portfolio.
He said the PM offered the police minister portfolio to a member of his PNG Party and also made the same offer to another member of the Opposition.
“I met with Sir Michael and asked him about this but he denied it,” Sir Mekere said.
He said these were all signs “the NA days are numbered”.
He said what “kitchen cabinet” was trying to do was offer portfolios to Opposition MPs.
However, this will not work as politics is a game of numbers and will only be determined on the floor of Parliament.
“We remain strong, we are together and we will weather out this silly season and strike when the time is right,” Sir Mekere said.
In the last few weeks, the PM has announced he would make a major reshuffle to his Cabinet but has postponed his decision and is tipped to make it prior to the first sitting of Parliament.
The Opposition has also had meetings last week and the week before but did not disclose the agenda.
PNG’s leading political scientist Dr Alphonse Gelu said: “PNG politics is unpredictable, it is only on the floor that we will know who has the numbers.
“We have the OLIPPAC in place which places certain restrictions but history has shown that regardless of the law, a government can be replaced by another.”
At this time, both sides of Parliament are anxiously waiting the decision of the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia on the validity of OLIPPAC.
Observers said if the five-judge bench ruled OLIPPAC unconstitutional, the Prime Minister would face challenge from within rather than outside.
The Supreme Court reference on OLIPPAC came to its conclusion Feb 8 after all parties made their final submissions.
The court has reserved the decision to a later date.