19 Apr 2004

Political expert says no confidence vote in PNG could spark early elections

7:31 am on 19 April 2004

A Papua New Guinea political scientist says some Government MPs don't realise that if they support a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, they will spark early elections.

In January, Sir Michael adjourned Parliament for more than five months, with some commentators saying this was to avoid a no confidence vote.

He has now been forced to recall Parliament early to choose a governor general and a vote is possible.

But Dr Orovu Sepoe of the University of PNG says the Opposition lacks the numbers, while Government MPs are bound by the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties to maintain their support for Sir Michael.

"If you support a Prime Minister on the first day in Parliament after a national election, you've got to stick by him...if you vote against him on any important constitutional amendment or vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister you voted for in the first place, then there will be a recall of fresh elections"