Pacific Scoop

Now PNG Parliament ousts Somare from his East Sepik regional seat

Sir Michael Somare

Forner PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare ... now ousted from his East Sepik seat. Photo: ABC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Russell Asagoni in Port Moresby

Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare was unceremoniously dumped from office in another dramatic move in Papua New Guinea’s Parliament yesterday afternoon.

This was the result of Speaker, Jeffrey Nape, declaring Sir Michael’s East Sepik regional seat, vacant.

Nape informed Parliament that he had written to the former Prime Minister in the morning, advising that he cease to hold office immediately.

The Speaker said the the seat automatically became vacant under Section 104, Sub-section 2 (d) of the Constitution in that Sir Michael did not attend three consecutive meetings of Parliament.

Nape said he would advise the Governor-General of his decision, and wish Sir Michael a full and speedy recovery. Parliament agreed on voices to accept the Speaker’s decision.

Remnants of the ousted coalition government are incensed over Parliament’s decision to declare a vacancy in the East Sepik regional seat.

Among them are suspended Angoram MP Arthur Somare, Wabag’s Sam Abal, Sir Arnold Amet and Aitape’s Patrick Pruaitch.

The MPs decried the move, saying that while assurance had been given by the Clerk of Parliament that Sir Michael’s attendance today, safeguarded his seat, Parliament had gone ahead to declare it vacant.

Tested in court
Sir Arnold said the decision would be pursued in the courts, while East Sepik Governor Peter Wararu warned he and his people’s patience was being sorely tested.

Arthur Somare  insisted Sir Michael had not been removed from office.

Political analyst Dr Alphonse Gelu from the University of Papua New Guinea said the Speaker’s action in pronouncing a vacancy in the East Sepik effectively means Sir Michael is dismissed as a Member of Parliament.

Parliament rose after the brief meeting this afternoon and will next meet on September 20.

Michael Russell Asagoni is a reporter on the National Broadcasting Corporation news team.