Speaker holds key

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SENIOR coalition leaders in government are trying to talk Speaker Jeffery Nape into preventing the notice of a vote of no-confidence in the prime minister from being entertained when parliament convenes in two weeks.
Sources in Waigani told The National that two senior government leaders visited Nape, who was holidaying in Cairns, Australia, last week.
Nape had been unimpressed by the failure of the government to release funds he had requested to carry out urgent maintenance in parliament since the house rose in July.
A notice of a motion of no-confidence was already with the speaker to remove Sir Michael Somare as prime minister. It named Sir Puka Temu as the alternate prime minister.
“The notice is there, and it is up to the speaker to bring it to the floor to be entertained,” a source said.
“I believe the speaker will allow the vote to take place.”
The opposition does not have the numbers at present, and would have to rely on government MPs breaking ranks to topple the PM. And, if the last sitting was any indication, it could happen.
It was understood the opposition was talking to factions in government, and would likely nominate a highlands MP for prime minister to attract the numbers to remove Sir Michael.
Leader of PNG Party Belden Namah reiterated last night the opposition was committed to removing the Somare-Polye government in this month’s sitting of parliament.
“The opposition is confident of forming the next government so long as the speaker is impartial and does not hijack the democratic and parliamentary processes,” he said.
He said that the people did not believe in the manner in which the country was run by a kitchen cabinet and there was a need for change.
Sir Puka, who travelled with Namah to Vanimo last week for the Bewani oil palm project signing, said the government needed to change with most indicators going backwards.
Also in Vanimo were member for Anglimp-South Waghi Jamie Maxtone-Graham, Markham MP Koni Iguan and member for Telefomin Peter Iwei.