27 Sep 2010

Five MPs in Papua New Guinea face barrier to switching allegiance to government

7:57 pm on 27 September 2010

A squabble in a party within the Papua New Guinea governing coalition is stopping it from adding five additional MPs to its line up.

The five last week announced they were switching allegiance from the Opposition to the United Resource Party, which is part of the Sir Michael Somare led Government.

But at the weekend, the party leader, William Duma, the Minister for Petroleum and Energy, refused to accept them as members.

Our correspondent in PNG, Oseah Philemon, reports Mr Duma saying the proper legal processes hadn't been followed.

"So even though they have announced publicly that they have left the Opposition and have joined the United Resources Party, they are not recognised as members, yet, because they have not followed the procedures and processes according to the Organic Law on Political Parties and Candidates."

Oseah Philemon says, given the latest defections, a successful vote of no confidence in the Government is now increasingly remote.