Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MPs to play region cards

GOVERNMENT sources, including some backbenchers have tipped that regionalism may play a “deciding” role in the imminent vote-of-no-confidence by the Opposition, The National reports.

The pending Supreme Court decision on the validity of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC) was adding more intrigue to the political climate facing the MPs and ministers, a source said.

“With the events of the past few weeks in the National Alliance camp, the announcement of the reshuffle and the notice by the Opposition to pursue a vote-of-no-confidence, word is that MPs are starting to align into regions,” the source added.

The announcement of a major Cabinet reshuffle by the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and the National Alliance politics and infighting suggest “the NA is becoming very unstable”. 

“Right now in the NA, there is also intense lobbying, as factions from all regions want to gain support on who will replace Sir Michael when the time comes,” the source said.

“Each region, has its own leader and will want that person to replace Sir Michael, NA is not together at this time.”

Political scientist Dr Alphonse Gelu said since 2002 NA had proven to be a formidable group that was highly cohesive as a political party but warned that “the only danger to NA’s cohesiveness would be the leadership issue that would definitely lead to some disagreements and imminently the splitting of the party”.

Several backbenchers on the condition of anonymity said they were “observing cautiously” and weighing out the situation and agree that the strength in numbers from regions may play a role, if the vote-of-no-confidence occured.

Parliament is expected to sit next Tuesday at 2pm. 

Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta put Sir Michael on notice last week stating that the time was right for a vote-of-no-confidence in the Prime Minister and the ruling National Alliance Party.

“There is definitely a great deal of unhappiness in the National Alliance camp and it’s causing a rift between its coalition partners,” Sir Mekere had said last week.

The Government source echoed this and said this has trickled to the backbenchers. 

“MPs are no longer talking portfolios but are talking numbers, because it is only on the floor of Parliament that a new Government will be formed, and they must play their cards right to be on the winning side,” he said.


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