PNG Government Thwarts No-confidence vote attempt

By Ilya Gridneff

PORT MORESBY, July 21 AAP - Papua New Guinea's parliament has descended into chaos after the government thwarted the opposition's attempt at a vote of no confidence by adjourning proceedings until November.

The opposition, swelled by a mass government defection, moved an expected motion for a no confidence vote on Wednesday morning.

But when parliament resumed after lunch, Speaker Jeffery Nape accepted the government's move for an adjournment.

The opposition challenged the government's numbers for the motion, but the speaker disallowed the move.

This prompted an outbreak of shouting and arguing, with the opposition claiming it had the numbers to block the adjournment.

But the Speaker did not call for a division and told the MPs parliament would resume on November 16.

More heated arguments followed, with an outraged opposition claiming PNG was run by a "dictatorship".

Prime Minister Michael Somare, facing a direct challenge by his former deputy Puka Temu, crossed the chamber, pointed his finger at the opposition and shouted in pidgin words which translate as "I will kill you."

Earlier in the day, the opposition had failed to block the swearing-in of the Governor General Paulius Matane, who had been selected in a controversial manner.

The opposition only had 45 members in favour of the motion to block his swearing in, 10 short of the majority needed of the 109 MPs.

AAP ig/tdb/srp/de



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