Former Prime Ministers of Papua New Guinea have joined the call for Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, to resign.
On Tuesday evening, the Opposition MPs witnessed a gathering of pioneer leaders Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, Sir Julius Chan and Sir Mekere Morauta.
In a reconciliation ceremony at the opposition camp at Laguna Hotel in Port Moresby, the former Prime Ministers are said to be drumming up support for the opposition.
Meanwhile, Western Highlands Governor and former Prime Minister, Paias Wingti, is said to join the group today.
Opposition leader, Don Polye, said the pioneer leaders were invited to show the way by sharing their wisdom, knowledge and guidance.
Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare said this was the first time the leaders had decided to come together and raise their voice.
“The government has seen itself fit to do things. They’ve been running the government for three years now, but there are things which are not correct in our way of thinking. And I’m sure that Sir Mekere and Sir Julius will say the same thing. We believe that the direction that we are taking is wrong because our common people in the streets are not happy,” Sir Michael said.
Sir Mekere Morauta said as former Prime Ministers’, they can no longer remain silent.
“We join hands and call on Prime Minister O’Neill to stand down immediately and allow the process of justice to take its course. He should resign before Friday,” Sir Mekere said.
He accused O’Neill of being the worst Prime Minister the country has ever had, claiming he lacks respect for the institutions of state.
Sir Julius Chan said his position was simple and firm.
“I stand for the good of the people of this country. I support good governance, I support [the] opposition,” Sir Julius said.
Regarding this Friday’s Vote of No Confidence, Sir Julius said that even if the government maintains its numbers, they should still have a new Prime Minister. If the opposition side should win, he said they should form a government of national unity and national honour by bringing together the best from both sides for the betterment of the country.
Meanwhile, the government remains confident of its 80 plus members in the Milne Bay capital of Alotau.
In a statement, Prime Minister O’Neill welcomed the move by Sir Julius to the opposition, saying the nation and the government thanks him for his service, however the global challenges faced in the country today are different from past decades.
“Government of today is faced by more complex global challenges than at any time in our history. We need the next generation of leaders, who are aware of global markets and are schooled in global politics, to lead our nation. In our government we have that next generation of leaders who have been seasoned in the processes of modern governance and are leading our country through current global challenges. This government is fixing up the legacies of the past and restoring infrastructure that had been left to decay, and government systems that had been run down. We do expect the leaders of the past to support the reforms that we are undertaking for the future,” the Prime Minister said from Alotau.
The Prime Minister’s PNC party alone has 52 members, the rest its coalition partners.