Speaker confirms O'Neill, PM moves into Morauta house to take charge

The O'Neill group on the steps of Parliament this morning.
Speaker Jeffrey Nape, has recognized Peter O'Neill as Prime Minister and Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, declared as an ordinary citizen. Mr Nape stated this, as Parliament resumed this morning, with only the O'Neill/Namah group in the House, with the Opposition side empty and less than 10 M-Ps seated in the middle benches. M-Ps are debating the National Budget. Security is tight at Parliament, with the public disallowed from watching today's proceedings.

Meantime, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and his Cabinet, are in a meeting with a member of the group saying, they hope to be sworn in later this afternoon. He says, the Governor-General is aware of the court orders which are explicit and is preparing the swearing-in instruments to be signed. The Head Of State, Sir Michael Ogio, has sought independent legal advice on the turn of events yesterday, after the Supreme Court reinstated Sir Michael Somare as the Prime Minister while at the same time, Parliament re-elected Peter O'Neill as the Prime Minister. The office of the Vice Regal says, no instruments were signed yesterday, as the turn of events confused the office of the Governor General.

The Vice Regal sought independent legal opinions, from various law firms and judges and is to decide on the signing. A former Judge says, politics in Papua New Guinea is in a quagmire. Mr Nemo Yalo, says the real winners in this current political situation, are the lawyers and law firms, reaping in millions of Kina from the leaders, through their legal challenges against each other. He says, Papua New Guineans are the big losers, through the unnecessary spending of public funds, on the Parliamentarians court cases.

"There are other loosers in this, and that is a public confidence in the integrity of the Judiciary, public confidence in the integrity of Parliament itself, and the public confidence in the integrity of the Executive arm of Government, and therefore public integrity in the Government of PNG." "There are other Constitutional and legal or political developments in other parts of the world, but this is very unique to us." "And only we seem to be good at this." Mr Yalo has blamed the National Alliance internal politics, developing into the issues of national significance, which has become a constitutional issue.

The Supreme Court has ordered that the lawyer representing Peter O'Neill be referred to the Lawyers Statutory Committee to be investigated, for his part in the recent move to disqualify the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia from presiding over the now completed Special Reference challenging the formation of the O'Neill-Namah Government. Handing down his decision on the Mr. O'Neil's application yesterday to have him disqualified, Sir Salamo says the application is just another attempt to remove him from the bench, and to derail the actual matter before the court.

Among Sir Salamo's orders is that Mr. O'Neil be also investigated for his part in the application, and that the court's registrar file contempt charges on the whole lot. Members of the Constabulary nationwide have been reminded to uphold the principles of the Constitution. Police Union General Secretary, Clemence Kanau issued the advice this morning. Mr Kanau told NBC News, the Constitution is the key of good governance, the guide of good administration and the ultimate principle of preserving our democracy. He says what happened last night between members of the constabulary was high tension politics and would want to see the matter being politically addressed. However, he says members of force are intact despite speculations of a split between certain factions.

The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd says he is deeply concerned about the political developments in Papua New Guinea. Mr. Rudd says Australia is watching developments closely and is urging calm on both sides. "We are deeply concerned about the situation. Obviously there are heightened political tensions within Port Moresby. We have two alternate Prime Minister. This is unknown terrain in Papua New Guinea."

The contempt case against Vanimo-Green M-P, Belden Namah and Rabaul M-P, Dr. Allan Marat has been further adjourned to Feburary 13th, next year. The Supreme Court has issued certain orders including one restraining the two contemnors from interfering with the contempt proceedings, in any manner whatsoever. The bench headed by Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, also granted leave to the court registrar, to file and serve an amended statement of charge by Friday next week. The bail for the two leaders has also been extended to 13 Feb 2012. Meanwhile confusion and anxiety still reigns in the capital city as there are still TWO governments taking control of politics. The court-restored Somare Government is meeting at the Morauta House, while the O'Neil-Namah Government which was nullied by the Supreme Court is still meeting in Parliament. Both sides are heavily guarded by police, which is obviously split in command.

Reports from:

Thanks Calvin Casper of NBC News for the continual updates and feeds over at Facebook


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