The National - Thursday 06th October, 2011

THE National Court has ruled that Kandep MP and Finance and Treasury Minister Don Polye is the rightful leader of the National Alliance party.
Yesterday’s decision by Justice Royale Thompson puts to rest the question of lea­dership of the largest party in parliament currently evenly divided in the government and opposition benches.
Polye had gone to court in July to seek redress after he and 20 other NA members were expelled by the party’s national execu­tive.
Thompson ruled in his favour, granting the stay order he sought against NA executive’s expulsion decision. The order is returnable to Oct 12.
A happy Polye said yesterday: “I am glad this matter is finally resolved. I now want to assure the party’s membership in parliament and supporters throughout the country that the NA is intact.
“I invite the party executive to accept the court decision. I also invite members of the party in the opposition to join us in government.
“There is no time for childish bickering and one-upmanship.
“The general election is just around the corner and we intend to make a big impact as the largest party in parliament,” Polye said.
He said he would be informing supporters throughout the country very soon of the party’s strategies and policies.
The court decision also restrains party execu­tives and others from interfering with the duties and responsibilities of Polye as the leader of the party.
The National Alliance has 42 members of whom 21 joined Polye in the government on Aug 2 while the balance remained in opposition.
It is understood the party ranks in the go­vernment has been boosted to 27.
Under the party’s constitution, one of the four regional deputies is eligible to be appointed as leader of the party.
Polye was, until his re­cent elevation, deputy leader of NA highlands bloc.
Following the expiry of Sir Michael Somare’s tenure as leader last February, the process had been under way to elect a new leader.
At a party convention at Minj, Jiwaka, last July, Polye was appointed lea­der on voices by parliamentarians who attended the event.
Not all the parliamentary wing of the party attended the Minj convention and the NA executive has always refused to recognise that process and maintained that  there remained a vacancy.
That question has been put beyond reasonable doubt by the court ruling yesterday.