25 May 2004

Doubts over the legality of political party shuffling in Papua New Guinea

9:09 pm on 25 May 2004

A Papua New Guinea political scientist says there is a lot of confusion over whether the political manoeuvrings of recent months are legal.

In a series of moves some parties have joined the Government, others have moved to the Opposition ranks, while others have split their allegiance.

Dr Orovu Sepoe of the University of Papua New Guinea says many of the movements appear to contravene the Integrity Law which was designed to control party hopping and bring stability to the Government.

She says the legality or otherwise is yet to be tested by the courts, but that process has to be initiated by the Registrar of Political Parties, which is under resourced.

"you need people and resources to work faster in referring members of political parties who are moving around when they are not supposed to be and parties that are divided, to be told that this should not be happening, and so the Registrar needs those resources to be able to do that fast"