By HELEN TARAWA
BOTH Prime Minister James Marape and Opposition Leader Belden Namah are maintaining that they have the numbers to secure the majority in the 110-seat Parliament when it sits on Monday.
Marape said: “Yes, our number (55) is solid. We are going into parliament as directed by (the Supreme) Court.”
Namah said: “Parliament has already demonstrated (during the Nov 13 sitting) through the numbers on the floor that Marape no longer has the support of the majority of MPs.”
The Supreme Court had ruled on Wednesday that the sitting of Parliament on Nov 17, which passed the 2021 National Budget and a motion to adjourn to April next year, was unconstitutional. It ordered that it sits on Monday.
Marape challenged Namah to bring all his MPs to Parliament on Monday so that they will see who has the majority. But he refused to resign as Namah wanted.
“I will not resign as prime minister,” Marape said.
“If the Opposition wants the PM’s position, they will have to get it in Parliament through the legitimate process of a motion of no confidence.”
Marape maintains he has 55 MPs including Moresby North West MP Sir Mekere Morauta who is unlikely to attend Parliament as he is away overseas.
According to information from his office, Sir Mekere, who is in Australia, wanted to attend Parliament but his doctors had advised him against travelling.
National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop who is on the Government list said he would decide which side to join when the House sits on Monday.
The list includes Speaker Job Pomat.
When asked about the proposed debate with Namah, Marape said he was ready but the other camp had not taken up the challenge.
“My condition for national debate is to be with the alternative PM (in the Opposition camp). They did not take up the challenge and did not name the alternative PM.
“I was ready and I am ready,” Marape said.
By HELEN TARAWA