Tuesday 28 May 2019

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday initiated Supreme Court Proceedings to seek clarity of the Constitutional and legal process in relation to plans for the Opposition’s proposed vote of no confidence.

The Prime Minister sought to seek clarification on the Oppositions withdrawal of the motion for a vote of no confidence, something that we in the Opposition view as a normal parliamentary process.

In what can only be described as legal gymnastics and a complete abuse of the legal system, the Prime Minister has resorted to desperate measures in asking the Courts to intervene.

Lawyers for the Prime Minister sought an injunction to stop any vote of no confidence from taking place. This was denied by the Courts this morning.

Lawyer for the Prime Minister Tiffany Twivey was asked by the Court to explain the urgency of the matter – “if the sky would fall today?” The Court comprising of Chief Justice Salika, Justice Batari and Justice Dingake said it was a matter for Parliament and not urgent in nature. The matter was adjourned to Friday.

The Opposition sees the outcome of today’s Court proceedings as a sound victory.

Virtually all members of Parliament have agreed that the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill must resign. Former Prime Ministers Sir Julius Chan and Paias Wingti have made their position clear – they oppose the Prime Ministers latest attempt to run to the Courts and frustrate good governance and democratic process.

They also made it clear that the vote for Prime Minister must proceed on the floor of Parliament without further delay.

In a joint statement released last night by the two former Prime Ministers and the Governors for NCD and Madang, they expressed their joint opposition to the court application filed by Prime Minister O’Neill to delay todays proceedings and their support for the overwhelming public sentiment for the Prime Minister to resign.

Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch said “this is just the latest manufactured excuse from a desperate Prime Minister who is hell bent on maintaining power at all cost to prolong the political instability that is crippling the nation. The Laguna camp welcomes last nights statement from former Prime Ministers Chan and Wingti and Governors Parkop and Yama. The constitutional and parliamentary process must be allowed to continue without any further hindrance.”