ITS NOT GAME OVER YET.


THERE WILL BE NO VONC ON TUESDAY AGAINST PETER O’NEILL. 

By Robert S. Minak

Papua New Guinea is on the cusp of a political sea change. But not on Tuesday.
PMPO’s supporters are worried. Opposition supporters can’t wait.
In the last 2 weeks, MPs loyal to PO resigned enmass, led by the finance minister James Marape.

As I write, Opposition has 57 MPs. 54 Government MPs.
Negotiations continue. We are 5 days out from a possible ouster vote against the Prime Minister in Parliament.
Celebrations are premature. It aint over until the fat lady sings.

IS IT GAME OVER?

Not just yet. PO has 3 get out of jail cards.
Note, PO just needs 2 MPs to tilt the scale. We are 5 days out. That’s an eternity in PNG.

Until few days ago, the defectors are all PO’s men. Their reasons for switching are political, not personal.
They will move again if they are not satisfied, even original opposition MPs. The fluidity of PNG politics has people suffering insomnia.
For now though, the opposition work in progress looks good.

THURSDAY, NOT TUESDAY
Here is what will happen next week:
TUESDAY: Notice of Motion against the PM will be served on the Private Business Committee (PBC) according to standing orders 22, 105 and 130.

WEDNESDAY: 
The PBC meets to discuss motion. It will confirm the motion fulfills requirements of standing order 22 and advice the Clerk of Parliament to list it on the notice paper for Thursday’s sitting.

THURSDAY: 
Is private business day (SO 130(4) ). If the notice of motion is listed on the Notice paper, it takes precedence over all other business.
So, if all is well, Thursday is D-Day.
PO, who still is PM and assuming he still has 54 MPs come Tuesday may try to procedurally deny a VONC.

PO’s GET OUT OF JAIL CARDS.

Between Tuesday and Thursday morning, PO may get his lawyers to file an application for orders to restrain Parliament from allowing the VONC.
PO’s lawyers cannot seek restraining orders between now and Monday on account the notice of motion for VONC process has not been activated yet.
The Supreme Court would likely view any application for restraining orders as hypothetical and refuse to make orders. So PO will wait for the VONC motion to be listed on the Notice paper for Thursday next week first.
They may have prepared paperwork and holding it off till necessary. That will be his first move.
Failing that PO may get the Speaker’s chair to refuse the VONC saying the matter is SUB-JUDICE (meaning it’s before the court).

PROTRACTED TRENCH WARFARE

PO’s intent will be to frustrate the process of the VONC, hold power with a minority and then engage in a trench warfare to lure renegades back to the PNC fold, to regain majority control.
That way he wants to weaken their resolve over time and obliterate the opposition cause while consolidating his ranks.

WILL PO RESIGN?
Come Tuesday, PO will go to Parliament leading a minority government.
PO has lost the confidence of many of his MPs. But don’t expect him to resign. He will keep fighting or die trying.
If in the very unlikely event that PO resigns, then there is a vacancy in the office of PM. There will be no need for a VONC, but the election of a new PM.

IT’S TIGHT. GAME ON!!!
Right now, PO is short by 2 MPs only.
He is pretty much in the game. Unless there is a further defection of MPs to the Opposition, the game is a stalemate.
The opposition has made strides, but it’s not in the clear yet. If 2 or 3 MPs go to PO’s camp, it’s going to derail the gains made by the Opposition alliance.

There is formidable, seasoned, politically savvy men with O’Neill. The fact they have not thrown in the towel is indication there is much being said among them.
It’s a tense week next week.

JAMES MARAPE MAY NOT BE PM

Last two weeks have been obliteration (of PNC) and consolidation of the opposition ranks.
Now that the battle lines are drawn, horse trading begins. It’s a very long 5 days till Thursday.
The PM nominee will not necessarily be Marape or PO. Based on negotiated outcomes between now and Thursday, a PM candidate will emerge.
So, Undialu’s haste to shut the Laguna gates may be premature. Don’t be surprised if some of these MPs backflip and repeat a “Wouwou”.

Just don’t write off PO yet. It’s just started, this game. And he is in the hot-seat. PNG is in for a treat.

BUT HISTORY DOESN’T SUPPORT PO

Parliament resumes at 2pm 7 May 2019.
74 years ago, on May 7 1945 Adolf Hitler’s government ended its reign.
German forces surrendered signaling the end of World War 2 restoring the world to an air of hope and peace.
Sometimes, corruption is nature’s way of restoring our faith in democracy.

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