25 Sep 2013

PNG PM proposes federal system of government

1:30 pm on 25 September 2013

The Papua New Guinea prime minister, Peter O'Neill, has asked the nation's Constitutional and Law Reform Commission to consider scrapping the Westminster system of government in favour of federalism.

Under the proposal, first raised by a former prime minister, Sir Julius Chan, last week, the prime minister would be directly elected by the people.

Sir Julius has been campaigning for a federal system and argued it was fair and representative for PNG and its more than 850 cultures.

Mr O'Neill says such a change will consolidate political stability.

Since independence in 1975, no one party has achieved the numbers enough to rule outright.

As a result, parliament has been periodically rocked by sudden and unexpected votes of no confidence.