AS THE day dawns on the much thwarted and ultimately court-ordered no confidence vote in the O’Neill government, both sides have predictably expressed great confidence in their prospects of victory.
Papua New Guinea's deputy opposition leader Sam Basil (pictured) told Radio New Zealand International he believes the no confidence motion will be successful even though he didn’t know if his alliance had the numbers.
Basil said that with universities shut down by protests and other services threatening to strike if prime minister Peter O'Neill doesn't step down, the country is in crisis.
"I think the current situation in PNG is crying out for a change,” Basil told RNZI. “O'Neill is a fighter, he will not go down without fighting but we are very adamant that he has done enough damage to this country and he has to go.
“Papua New Guineans all over are now asking for the prime minister to step down."
The no confidence move is expected from the opposition when the PNG parliament sits this afternoon after the supreme court ordered it to reconvene to hear the opposition's motion.
The Polye-Basil opposition bloc has only 15 members in the 111 seat parliament but Basil believes it has a good chance of rallying a majority.
"In PNG politics it's always determined at the eleventh hour,” he said. “All political parties are talking to each other right now."
A high-profile member of the governing coalition, People's Progress Party leader Ben Micah, told the ABC he had already urged the government to find a solution to defusing tensions that have arisen over calls for the prime minister to stand down and which Micah said now posed “a potentially bigger threat to our safety and security."
Micah, whose party holds seven seats, did not say if he would be asking O'Neill to resign. But he said the government needed to respond to civil unrest before things got worse.
Opposition leader Don Polye said the opposition is confident of its motion to remove O’Neill and has immediate plans to address urgent national issues if it can form a government.
The opposition went into camp earlier this week and it is negotiating with other backbenchers and government MP’s to oust the government.
It will need at least 56 votes this afternoon to successfully secure the no-confidence motion.