13 Jul 2009

PNG opposition leader questions PM's commitment to democracy

7:13 pm on 13 July 2009

PNG's Opposition Leader Sir Mekere Morauta has questioned the commitment of Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to supporting parliamentary democracy.

This follows the special Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders' meeting on the Fiji situation in Vanuatu last week.

The MSG leaders subsequently accepted the reasons given by Fiji's interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama for putting off elections for another five years after he briefed them about his plans for Fiji.

But Sir Mekere said Sir Michael's decision to support Fiji's military dictatorship sent the wrong messages to people.

He said that by supporting an illegal regime, Sir Michael has supported the destruction of parliamentary democracy, independent judiciary and free press.

In response, Sir Michael said that the opposition leader lacked understanding of the underlying issues in Fiji, saying the issue was quite challenging at the sub-regional and regional arena.

The Prime Minister said that the MSG leaders used the Port Vila meeting as an opportunity to implore Commodore Bainimarama to consider Fiji's people and economy.

Sir Michael maintains that to totally disengage with the regime would be disastrous for the majority of Fiji people, making it extremely hard for Fiji to return to any form of normality or decent rule of law.