Monday, April 23, 2012

O’Neill makes U-turn on election

Source: The National, Monday 23rd April 2012

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has gone back on his own assertion that neither parliament nor the National Executive Council has any powers to defer the general election.
That power, he had said, was vested solely in the electoral commissioner.
Answering questions last Friday, O’Neill said parliament had spoken when, by an absolute majority, it decided to defer the election by six months.
O’Neill was responding to questions raised by Madang regional MP Sir Arnold Amet who said if cabinet had a separate decision to defer the election by three weeks, then the decision had to be brought back to parliament for a motion to rescind the earlier decision.
He also said parliament had been wrongly advised on the effects of section 105(1)(c ) of the Constitution and the use of that section for the motion to defer the election by six months was wrong.
O’Neill said the decision to defer the issue of writs by three weeks was made by Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen in accordance with the powers vested on him to make such decisions and not the National Executive Council.
He said the NEC remained with what the parliament had decided because the NEC observed that the electoral commissioner was not ready.
He said it was ethically and morally right for the electoral commissioner to be honest and tell the people of PNG.
“We will still go to election but the electoral commissioner must be honest and tell the people the truth,” he said.
He said funds had been released to support the Electoral Commission but the rolls were not ready

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