Motion of no confidence possible for PNG Prime Minister
Papua New Guinea's deputy opposition leader says he believes a no confidence motion in the Prime Minister will be successful, despite not knowing whether his bloc has the numbers.
A vote will be held on Friday afternoon after the Supreme Court ordered parliament to reconvene to hear the opposition's motion.
The vote was supposed to take place on June the 8th, but Parliament was adjourned following the police shooting of students who were trying to march in support of it.
With universities shut down by student protests, and other services threatening to strike if Prime Minister Peter O'Neill doesn't step down, Sam Basil says MPs must support the motion and the will of the people.
Mr Basil told Jamie Tahana it won't be clear whether the opposition, which has 15-members in a 111-seat parliament, will have the numbers until the 11th hour, as the government is manoeuvring for support.
SAM BASIL: The numbers will be decided by the current members of parliament and we know and the public already knows what the current regime is. The economy is pretty bad right now, we don't have foreign reserves, workers are being sent home, students are now in suspended classes and students are going home, they are fighting the same cause. So it is now becoming a well-known situation that everybody wants Peter O'Neill to step down. Now, the only thing that will hold some of the members of the government to still support him is money and we believe there is a lot of money that will be played around by the government. But we'd like to knock hard on their heads to let them know that the country is at stake.
JAMIE TAHANA: You're accusing the government right now of moving money around to try and get these numbers. That's a very big accusation to make. Do you have evidence of this or do you know of it happening?
SB: I'm not accusing but I'm saying that it's normal practice in the Papua New Guinea parliament.
JT: Do you know that it's happening right now?
SB: It can easily happen.
JT: It can easily happen, and it has happened in the past, but is it happening now?
SB: It's possible that it can happen.
JT: But we don't have any known cases as such currently?
SB: Well in Papua New Guinea money plays politics. Everybody knows that. That is why the corruptest regime has a lot of war chest to play. So we know that when lobbying is going on there is a lot of money that is being traded, and that is the nature of PNG politics - we cannot deny that.
JT: Does the opposition have the numbers needed to topple Mr O'Neill's government?
SB: In PNG politics it's always determined at the 11th hour. People are talking and I cannot deny that. Members in government are talking to the opposition - not to the opposition, but let's go by party base. All political parties are talking to each other right now.
JT: OK so your bloc doesn't actually know if they have the numbers to have this motion be successful?
SB: By the 21st, we will know the answer. I think the current situation in Papua New Guinea is crying out for a change, and I think O'Neill is a fighter - he will not go down without fighting. But we are very adamant that he has done enough damage to this country and he has to go. Papua New Guineans all over are now asking for the Prime Minister to step down. And as I have said, as I am speaking now, flights are not operating out of Jacksons Airport. Papua New Guinea want the Prime Minister to step aside so we have to vote him out in the vote of no confidence.
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