Signs of political shifts in PNG ahead of 2017 elections
A Papua New Guinea opposition grouping, the Pangu Pati, says it is joining forces with a main party from the governing coalition, the People's Progress Party for next year's general election. It's another sign of discontent in the coalition with the leadership of prime minister Peter O'Neill and his People's National Congress party.
One of the main parties in Papua New Guinea's coalition government is reportedly teaming up with an opposition party for next year's general elections.
The Pangu Pati, led by deputy opposition leader Sam Basil, says it will work together with the People's Progress Party led by the influential minister for petroleum and energy, Ben Micah.
Mr Basil told Johnny Blades it's a sign that parties within the ruling coalition are disillusioned with the leadership of prime minister Peter O'Neill and his People's National Congress party.
SAM BASIL: Every coalition (partner) that is teaming up with the O'Neill Dion government knows very well that they don;t want to be part of the blame when the time comes, about being with the government into the elections. because we have seen in many other influential governments before that when they are not being very popular in terms of running the country properly to the way people want, they get turned down in the national elections. Everybody knows very well that if they continue to be part of the regime, they can have a very bad result during the national elections. So most parties that are attached to the O'Neill/Dion government are now talking to the opposition, and are now strategising a way to move over to the opposition before the national elections (in 2017).
JOHNNY BLADES: We haven't actually heard Ben Micah, the leader of that party, confirm that (the agreement between his party and the Pangu Pati to team up) so some people might think that you're speaking prematurely about the arrangement.
SB: Well I think that on Monday the PPP made an announcement through the newspaper. It wasn't from us. It came out on Monday that through PPP sources, they have announced that they'd formed an alliance with Pangu Pati. So we were surprised that Ben Micah would have come out too soon, as you said, prematurely. We are just complimenting the report that came out too soon by Ben Micah so we haven;t cooked up the issue from our own. It was announced by the PPP party in Monday's paper.
JB: Your focus is already on the 2017 election. You know, that's over a year out, isn't it, the election?
SB: Yeah it is over a year out, and I think many political parties have already formed alliances, and as you can see, one of those was PPP and also Pangu and many others that in the recent weeks and months have already announced their alliances through to the 2017 elections, and it is important.
JB: What's mainly wrong with the O'Neill-led government?
SB: Well we understand that the LNG Project proceeds... we started off with the UBS loan that was obtained without sanctioning the process through the parliament, and many other issues that were brought up by the obtaining of that loan. we all know that it is bad for the economy, bad for the country. And all these earnings now from the LNG have been quarantined in an account in Singapore. We're not going to see that for the next five years. The country is cash-strapped now. We're seeing signs of no liquidity in our system and as I've said the Central Bank has been pressured by the government to raise more funds. They are really struggling at the moment to do that. And as far as we can see, it's not a good sign of a good government running the country in terms of bringing us to that mess.
Sam Basil says that Pangu Pati has this week appointed Dulciana Somare-Brasch as a strategic advisor and policy writer for the party towards the 2017 elections.
He says it will help the party lock in good policies ahead of the polls, and describes it as another link to PNG's longest serving parliamentarian, the former prime minister Sir Michael Somare, who co-founded Pangu Pati in the 1960s.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: