9 Nov 2004

PNG ruling could mean four Cabinet Ministers must join the Opposition

8:06 pm on 9 November 2004

A decision by the Papua New Guinea Registrar of Political Parties over the disputed leadership of two parties could mean four Cabinet Ministers will join the Opposition.

Paul Bengo has ruled that Andrew Baing, who left the Government earlier this year, is the official leader of the People's Progressive Party and Tim Neville is the leader of the United Resources Party.

The Speaker Jeffery Nape has previously ruled that Paul Tiensten and Sam Akoitai, who are both in Cabinet, are the parliamentary leaders of the parties.

Our correspondent Peter Niesi says the MPs will find out tomorrow whether Mr Nape accepts the ruling.

"Given that the Constitution has been amended to include the Integrity Law on Political Parties, he should really rule in line with the Constitution. But that is something that will need to be seen on the floor of Parliament, because one of the reasons they House has been rowdy in this session is Opposition concerns over some of the Speaker's rulngs which they see as unconstitutional"