20 Oct 2009

PNG Opposition boycott new session of Parliament saying Government's action are illegal

2:35 pm on 20 October 2009

Papua New Guinea's opposition is to boycott the parliamentary session, starting today, in protest at the decision by the National Alliance-led government to recall parliament before 10 November.

It calls the move illegal and a wilful disregard of the nation's laws.

The Opposition leader, Sir Mekere Morauta, says as far as the Opposition is concerned, the set date for Parliament to sit next is November the 10th and that is when his MPs will attend.

The National newspaper reports sources saying some government backbenchers and several governors will join the protest.

Parliament was abruptly adjourned on July the 29th until November the 10th, after the Opposition had attempted to bring a vote of no confidence in the government of Sir Michael Somare.

The truncated session meant that parliament had only sat for only 41 days in the parliamentary year - 22 days short of the required number.

The opposition subsequently referred the prime minister, the leader of government business Paul Tiensten, and the speaker Jeffrey Nape, to the ombudsman commission alleging breaches of the constitution and the leadership code.

Sir Mekere says the July adjournment was illegal and a sitting should not be held until a deliberation is made on it.