Wednesday, August 31, 2011

‘Ploy to oust Grand Chief'

THE planned recall of parliament next Tuesday has been described as a ploy to disqualify Sir Michael Somare from the East Sepik parliamentary seat he has held for more than 40 years, The National reports.
East Sepik Governor Peter Wararu stated this in a second submission delivered to the Ombudsman Commission yesterday, calling on the watchdog to use its powers to stop parliament from meeting on Sept 6.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill had announced last week that parliament would be recalled two weeks ahead of schedule to discuss important national issues. Among them were the proposed Hela and Jiwaka provinces and the reserved seats for women.
Public notices to that effect were this week placed in the daily newspapers by Speaker Jeffery Nape, announcing the early recall of parliament.
Wararu said in a statement last night that the national government was recalling parliament early "to force Sir Michael into a third consecutive absence from the meetings of parliament to disqualify him as member under section 104(2)(d) of the Constitution".
He said this was clear from the 24 questions being added to the East Sepik provincial executives' special reference to the Supreme Court by Young & Williams Lawyers on behalf of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and his deputy Belden Namah.
"These questions focus on creating a vacancy by absenteeism of the Grand Chief from parliamentary meetings," Wararu said.
The latest submission to the Ombudsman Commission was signed by Wararu, East Sepik deputy governor and chairman of assembly services-PEC Toby Samek and Angoram MP Arthur Somare.
It said: "The unconstitutional recall of parliament simply adds another layer of questions on the constitutionality of the decision and action compounding the issues already in the Supreme Court.
"The swiftest legal procedure available is for the Ombudsman Commission to intervene by invoking their powers under section 27(4) of the Constitution to direct that:
. The earlier recall of parliament to Sept 6, 2011, is unconstitutional on the basis that it does not comply with section 2(1)(a)(iii) of the Organic Law in that no exceptional circumstances exist;
.The parliamentary meeting should remain as decided by parliament and adjourned to Sept 20, 2011."
The submission argued that the bills brought forward for debate next Tuesday had appeared on the notice papers for parliament's sitting on Sept 20, and that no new facts or exceptional circumstances had been demonstrated to require an early recall of parliament.
"We, again, reiterate our earlier submission that the matter is still sub-judice in the Supreme Court.
"The primary question in that reference is whether the government, led by O'Neill, is constitutionally formed and legitimate.
"To force a recall of parliament is an attempt to, firstly, assume and, secondly, to reinforce a claim to legitimacy which directly impinges on the primary question before the Supreme Court.
"It is, therefore, contemptuous," the submission read

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