O’Neill-Somare struggle is now irrelevant to PNG
24 May 2012
I UNDERSTAND THE RATIONALE behind the suggestion of the possibility of military intervention by the PNGDF in assuming some type of authority until the return of the writs for the general election.
But it's the wrong solution to the issue.
The problem with any domestic military intervention is that unless it has the ubiquitous support and direction of the government, it is essentially an unauthorised military action similar to that of a military coup.
The police would be a better option here.
But in saying that, the reality is that PNG has already begun the process of elections - parliament has risen, the writs have been issued and nominations close today.
The government (whoever that is) is in caretaker mode and that should mean a very limited role in the affairs of national governance as per pre-approved financial allocations.
No major decisions should be made right now, that is, unless a state of emergency is declared as per the constitution.
The PNGDF, police, and the public service have always had a role to play in terms of the period of time between the signing of the writs and the return of writs - but this has always been under the supervision of parliament via the caretaker government.
Anything else is not acceptable. Furthermore, I am totally against any type of 'intervention' - whether military or civil - from foreign nations (e.g. Australia).
If we really look at latest political development - that is, the friction between O'Neill and Somare as to who is the legitimate PM - it is actually irrelevant and should have no bearing on elections going ahead (as they are).
I use "should have" because, as others have observed, the only interest in both O'Neill and Somare in being the caretaker government is being in control of government resources in the lead up to polling. It's as simple as that.
Apart from that one aspect which does have significant ramifications on how elections are contested, and possibly how they may be influenced and even won, having Somare and O'Neill argue over the prime ministership really is now negligible on PNG.
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