26 Sep 2013

Move towards federalism could prevent PNG fragmenting

1:23 pm on 26 September 2013

A political scientist says a move by Papua New Guinea's prime minister to look at taking on a federal system of government could be aimed at preventing the fragmentation of the country.

Peter O'Neill has asked the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission to consider scrapping the Westminster system in favour of federalism whereby the prime minister is directly elected by the people.

Mr O'Neill says the change would consolidate political stability.

The National Research Institute's Dr Ray Anere says the Prime Minister may also be mindful of other provinces seeking to follow Bougainville, which is due hold a referendum on independence from 2015.

"Perhaps in light of those scenarios, federalism could be considered a vehicle that could allow for greater autonomoy or a degree of independence on the part of provinces without having the need to cause political fragmentation of the country."

Dr Ray Anere