by Neville Choi – EM TV, Port Moresby
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the government coalition is intact and he has the support of close to 100 members in parliament.
“[Regarding] the coalition, as you know in terms of numbers, PNC is the biggest party on the floor of parliament. NA is the next biggest party, with about 10 members. Of course PPP with 7, URP with 8,” he said.
In reaction to the announcement in parliament by East Sepik Governor, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare of moving to the middle benches, Mr O’Neill, said he (Sir Michael) had every right to sit wherever he wants to in the house.
“The outburst by Sir Michael yesterday is just political opportunism. He took an opportunity to try and criticise our deal with refinancing of the Oil Search shares through the UBS loan.
“I respect his decision and if he wants to sit in one of the empty chairs on the other side, he can contribute to many of the nation’s issues from any chair in parliament,” he said.
He also said that Eastern Highlands Governor, Julie Soso was a member of the Triumph Heritage and Empowerment party headed by Kandep MP Don Polye and would not be missed by the government.
“Governor Soso is a member of the THE party. She did not move from government to the Opposition. Her party was thrown out of government so it’s a number that we didn’t have in any case. So we welcome her to participate in lively debates from the other side of the floor.
That is part of democracy. We respect that and we understand that,” said Mr O’Neill.