Prime Minister, Peter O’Neil, has presented a strong front in a post parliament session news conference stating that he has the backing of major coalition partners who stand prepared to ward off a vote of no confidence.
“The government is well and truly solid, intact and we are ready to work. As you can see with the partners led by all our coalition leaders, Sir Julius, Peter Yama, Minister Duma, Minister Basil and former Prime Minister Paias Wingti… We have shown courage to support a government that is working for the people of this country.”
The last five days have been the most trying for Peter O’Neill as his PNC led coalition worked to manage both internal conflicts and stem the flow of MPs leaving to join the opposition faction camped at the Laguna Hotel in Port Moresby.
members led by Abau MP, Sir Puka Temu, defected to the opposition saying they were dissatisfied with how Peter O’Neill was running government.
Despite demands to relinquish the PNC leadership and the Prime Minister’s post, O’Neill has refused to let go of power. On Saturday, indications of a handover to Deputy Prime Minister, Charles Abel didn’t happen. Political insiders, said the an eight hour delay in the announcement was due to intense lobbying behind the scenes.
“I have been leading the party for 20 years and certainly there will be a change. The change will be decided at our convention at 2021. For those aspiring for leadership roles, put your name up and of course the party caucus will decide.”
The Prime Minister says he is taking the concerns raised by former coalition MPs very seriously. Those concerns range from business opportunities for Papua New Guineans, LNG project benefits and external interference into government affairs.