By HELEN TARAWA
OPPOSITION Leader Patrick Pruaitch has quit his post to join the James Marape-led government with his National Alliance MPs, hoping to help salvage the economy currently going through “turbulent times”.
“As responsible leaders, we need to lend our support to the prime minister to ensure that appropriate strategies are developed to address the chronic (economic) problems inherited over the years,” he said.
“We stand ready to lend that support and today the major party in the opposition (National Alliance) has resolved to move with the rest of the opposition leaders to the government.
“We feel that together we can better manage our country. I think our country and our citizens deserve a better government that will recognise what our people want.”
Pruaitch, the National Alliance Party leader, said he was crossing the floor with his 18 party MPs, plus Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat from the Melanesian Liberal Party.
Marat could not be reached to confirm this yesterday.
The other two MPs likely to remain in the Opposition are Kandrian-Gloucester MP Joseph Lelang and Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah.
Namah said whoever was elected to replace Pruaitch as Opposition Leader would continue pursuing the Supreme Court case, questioning the legality of Marape’s election as prime minister on May 31.
Pruaitch said the decision to join the Marape-led government was in the best interest of the country.
He said the party had accepted the “invitation” to join Marape “in consolidating his government”.
“Our country is going through turbulent times. (And) with the experience we are have in the opposition, we feel we can come together to develop strategies,” he said.
On the economic management of the nation “over the last six to seven years”, he said “we have seen things being done”.
“But there are legacy issues in terms of the debt profile, lack of foreign reserves, borrowings that are taking place and the mismatch between what is budgeted and what is actually flowing onto our rural sectors, particularly in our education and health programmes.”
Marape thanked Pruaitch, the NA MPs and other leaders for offering constructive views.
“For them to make important concession, it elevates their standing as genuine leaders of the country leaving aside personal interests and egos to embrace unity.”
By HELEN TARAWA