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June 25, 2021
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Opposition Files Supreme Court Reference on Election of Prime Minister

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By Adelaide Sirox Kari – EMTV News, Port Moresby


The Opposition, through their lawyer Loani Henao from Henao Lawyers, has filled a Supreme Court reference to seek clarification on section 63 of the Organic Law and the election of the Prime Minister.

Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch said while the Attorney General has filed two Supreme Court references on the constitutionality of the Vote of No Confidence, the opposition is seeking clarification on the process followed for the election of the Prime Minister.

With the Vote-of-No-Confidence expected in May, both the Government and now the opposition have gone to the Supreme court to seek clarification on the election of the Prime Minister.

Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch made the announcement.

The first claim that section 63 sub-section 2 of the organic law is unconstitutional and invalid,  section  63 sub-section 2 stating that ‘where two or more registered political parties have endorsed an equal number (being the greatest number) of candidates declared elected in the elections, the Electoral Commission shall so advise the Head of State, and the Head of State, acting with, and in accordance with, the advice of Electoral Commission, shall invite the registered political party with the highest votes declared in the elections to form the Government’.

“The Organic law on the integrity of political parties and candidates section 63 is unconstitutional, now this is a claim this is a matter that the Supreme Court is to determine. at the basis of that claim is that under the law, any provision made by the organic law or an act of a parliament, any act of Parliament, all those provisions must be authorized by the Constitution,” lawyer Loani Henao from Henao Lawyers said.

The second claim that as per the constitution, the Prime Minister office section 142 subsection 2, The Prime Minister shall be appointed, at the first meeting of the Parliament after a general election and otherwise from time to time, as the occasion for the appointment of a Prime Minister arises, by the Head of State, acting in accordance with a decision of the Parliament.

“The Prime Minister on the 2nd of August 2017, being on the first day of the sitting of a parliament after the return of the Writs was unconstitutional, on the basis that the election did not take place on the next sitting days, after Parliament was informed who the candidate or candidates were, for the post of Prime Minister,” Mr Henao said.

Their lawyer stated the difference between the reference filed by the Government and Opposition;

“The Opposition leaders have filed is under Section 18 of the Constitution. The one filed by the attorney general, there were two filed (by the attorney general), number four and five supreme court reference number,  were filed under section 19 of the constitution, then the applicant as in this case, must demonstrate to the supreme court that they do have constitutional interest or legal interest to bring such questions to be determined by the supreme court so  now we’re going to the Supreme Court under Section 18 because we do not have that privilege to go straight to the Supreme Court, to ask the Supreme Court to raise those and determine those two questions which we dealt with.”

The Prime Minister, along with the Attorney General, and the Speaker of Parliament, are expected to be served a copy of the Supreme Court Application.




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