Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peter O’Neill addresses nation; Stalemate continues

Peter O’Neill addresses nation.
Members of the Peter O’Neill group raise their hands in the air as they are confronted by armed police loyal to the Sir Michael Somare group as they push past to blockade the gate to Government House after hearing that Sir Michael was headed to Government House to be sworn in as prime minister. The armed policemen manhandled the leaders as they made their way past their blockade. Picture: TARAMI LEGEI
Stalemate continues
By JONATHAN TANNOS
THE Governor-General, Sir Michael Ogio, will formally advice on a decision for his swearing in of the legitimate government of Papua New Guinea.
When that will be is not known, but is understood will be sometimes this week considering the gravity of current political confusion and uncertainty.
The decision is critical in light of yesterday’s second failed attempt by Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill, to get sworn in as Prime Minister and the yet to be sworn in cabinet of court re-instated Prime Minister Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare.
The Governor-General at a private meeting with Mr O’Neill and his official Secretary, Tipo Vuatha, said he would formally write to both parties stating his position.
A persistent Mr O’Neill managed to squeeze this commitment out of Sir Michael following a two-hour siege of his main gate entrance backed by members of his 72-strong parliamentry supporters.
Mr O’Neill’s first attempt was on Monday night straight after the Supreme Court ruling nullifying his government of August 2, 2011 when he failed to convince the Government House to let him in to be sworn as Prime Minister.
After the ruling, he was re-elected as Prime Minister in a 69-0 vote, mainly by his supporters.
Yesterday was a second standoff between him and the Government House over the same insistence to be sworn in as Prime Minister following the late vote and an earlier passage of an amendment to the Prime Minister and National Executive Council Act recognising him as duly elected as such.
But after hours of sweating outside the gate, Mr O’Neill managed to convince Mr Vuatha that he had a legitimate reason to personally talk to Sir Michael.
He claimed the vice-regal had earlier allowed re-instated Somare government Chief of Staff, Paul Bengo, and National Alliance Party Secretary General, Joyce Grant, and others to see him and should do likewise in all fairness.
Earlier during the standoff, Mr Vuatha addressed Mr O’Neill and his group, saying the Governor General could not see them because he was getting confused with conflicting advice.
“His Excellency is totally confused,” Mr Vuatha said of the vice-regal.
But after the meeting, Mr O’Neill said the Governor General had decided he would reply in writing to both sides stating his position after seeking independent legal advice.
Mr O’Neill said the Governor General would also hold a private meeting with Sir Michael and Mr Vuatha like he did with him.
`”I cannot discuss the details of that meeting because he has to afford the same level of courtesy to the Grand Chief,” Mr O’Neill told reporters outside the gates.
`”He will meet with the Grand Chief tomorrow.He will then write to both of us and to express his decision on the best way to move forward.’’

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