Friday, July 22, 2011

NA party members on collision course



EXECUTIVES of the ruling National Alliance party and its parliamentarians are on a collision course over the suspension of acting prime minister from the party, The National reports..

But Abal has reassured the people and party supporters that the National Alliance “is solid”.

He will also put up his hand up for the post of prime minister when it becomes available.

The party’s national executive committee had decided on Monday to suspend Wabag MP Abal for two weeks for “wilfully acting in a manner prejudicial to the interest of the party”.

In that regard, the parliamentarians said the national executives had more powers than them, the elected members of parliament.

The NA highlands MPs yesterday closed ranks around Abal who they elected as the region’s new deputy leader claiming their decision was within the confines of the party constitution.

Abal said the national executive should, like other political parties, handle issues internally before going to the media.

“They have done a disservice by going to the press. At the moment they have served documents which I said is not legal,” he said.

“Legal advice is that it is debatable whether an unelected representative can presumably suspend an elected member of parliament and purportedly take down the acting prime minister.”

Abal promised to unite the party and “cut out stuff like this that try to weaken and break up the party”.

Abal said Wednesday night’s decision was reached after much deli­beration.

He commended the leaders from the region for supporting Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare’s appointment of him as deputy and acting prime minister.

“The time for elections is next year and the National Alliance, being the biggest party, needs to take steps to consolidate and move forward,” Abal said.

“It is not an easy decision and I thank the former leader, Don Polye, for his leadership thus far.

“It is about time we renewed the face of the party and propose to the people that we have re-strategised and prepare ourselves to lead the country.”

Abal said the country had been unstable with governments lasting 18 months, but the National Alliance-led government had brought stability and restored investor confidence.

Abal was flanked by Education Minister James Marape (Tari-Pori); Labour Minister Sani Rambi (Mul-Baiyer); Tom Olga (Western Highlands Governor); Yawa Silupa (Lufa); Benjamin Mul (North Waghi); Miki Kaeok (Wapenamanda) and Lands Minister Lucas Dekena.

The media conference was attended by Attorney-General Sir Arnold Amet (Momase) and Charles Abel (southern).

They were the first to congratulate Abal on his election.

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