Saturday, August 8, 2009

PNG: Opposition Calls For PM's Resignation

By Rich Bowden

Img: Sir Michael Somare, 2008. Credit: U.S. PO Mark Logico.

The Papua New Guinea Opposition has called for the resignation of Prime Minister Michael Somare, blaming him for rampant corruption in the country, failure to deliver services and a serious constitutional breach.

The 73-year-old leader, who was the first prime minister of PNG following independence in 1975, has been accused by the Opposition of being "too old," to run the country, reports the Post-Courier, quoting Opposition sources.

Sir Michael, one of the Pacific's iconic leaders, has come under pressure from Opposition figures who accuse him of making policy decisions on the run adding that the country systems were in danger of "collapse" should Sir Michael be allowed to continue as prime minister.

“Now is the time to change the Government and Sir Michael must resign,” the Opposition told reporters at a press conference held at Parliament house Thursday.

Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta drove home the point saying: “It is for the betterment of the country and the people that the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare must resign.”

The call comes in response to accusation made during the week that the Opposition had locked up Government members and bribed them to vote with the Opposition on the recent forum on changes to the Oil and Gas Act security held in Goroka, the capital of the Eastern Highlands province, reported Radio New Zealand in a August 6 news report.

According to Radio NZ: "...The Acting Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu claims the government has evidence that some of its members were locked up against their will in order for the opposition to seal their support."

This has been denied by Opposition figures saying the government had voted with the Opposition of their own accord.

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