Saturday, April 07, 2012

PNG backflips on stalling national elections

From ABC

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has called for early elections, just days after parliament voted to delay the June polls by up to six months.
Peter O'Neill has assured PNG its elections will not be delayed. [ABC]

In a statement released today (Saturday), Mr O'Neill said parliament was not fully briefed on election preparations and did not have his authorisation.
 "The Electoral Commissioner's brief to me dated April 2 did not recommend deferral of elections. All effort must be made to assure security and integrity of the elections," he said.
 PNG's parliament voted 63-11 on Thursday to defer the mid-year elections for six months after hearing a report that preparations were inadequate.
 Cabinet is expected to meet on Monday to review election preparations ahead of Tuesday's sitting of parliament, where the decision to defer elections is likely to be reversed.
 On Friday, Papua New Guinea warned other countries, particularly Australia, not to interfere in its internal affairs.
 Perhaps in anticipation of an international backlash, deputy prime minister Belden Namah warned other countries not to interfere.
 He singled out Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr who floated, then later retracted, the idea of imposing sanctions on Papua New Guinea if elections were delayed.
 "Whatever Mr Bob Carr says about sanctions, I want to say this: do not threaten the independence of this country," Mr Namah said.
 Mr Carr says Australia is disappointed about the election delay, but is not considering sanctions at the moment.
 He says Australia and New Zealand have already agreed to provide substantial support for the poll.
 "In my view it would not be productive to be talking about sanctions at this time," he said.
 "Questions are being raised in Papua New Guinea about the constitutionality of this decision, those questions will need to be resolved by the country itself.
 "We respect Papau New Guinea's sovereignty and we'd like to see this decision reviewed."
 In a statement, Prime Minister Julia Gillard made no mention of sanctions but maintained Australia believed the elections should be held on time.
 "While we respect Papua New Guinea's sovereignty, as a strong supporter and long-time friend of Papua New Guinea, Australia believes the elections should be held on time, in accordance with the constitution," she said.
 "Papua New Guinea's democracy has to date had a good record of holding elections on time."

No comments:

Post a Comment