9 Nov 2006

PNG politicians vote to retain governors' seats

8:05 pm on 9 November 2006

The Papua New Guinea parliament has reversed constitutional changes that would have eliminated the provincial regional seats ahead of next June's national election.

The winners of the regional seats become the provincial governors but the government of Sir Mekere Morauta, prior to the elections in 2002, made changes to the Organic Law to abolish the seats.

Our correspondent in Port Moresby, Alex Rheeney, says the drive to retain the seats has come from the governors, who had spearheaded a failed attempt three months ago to muster the numbers.

"Provincial members still see themselves as part of PNG's political scenery and they still see themselves as making decisions for the betterment of Papua New Guineans. They were concerned that that decision by the Morauta Government in 2002 to amend the law would not be in the best interests of the country, hence the push and the pressure on the Somare Government to make sure the amendments were made by Parliament.."