26 May 2008

Veteran PNG politician says Parliament must have opportunities for votes of no confidence

7:50 pm on 26 May 2008

A former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, says MPs have to re-consider the grace periods that protect governments from votes of no confidence.

The grace periods of 18 months immediately after and immediately before an election mean there are few opportunities to try and vote out a government.

It is part of a raft of measures aimed at ensuring stability, but Sir Julius, now the Governor of New Ireland and one of a handful of MPs making up the Opposition, says it effectively makes the PNG Prime Minister a dictator.

His comments come amid several controversies surrounding the Government of Sir Michael Somare.

Sir Julius says if a Government is not performing it needs to be tested on the floor of Parliament.

"The vote of no confidence is the only check that we have, in the current system that we have. With that period, the mandatory grace period, the prime minister of the is country is actually the most powerful man in the world."

Sir Julius Chan.