Only 3 Months of Grace Period | Why O’Neill Must Keep His Friends Close, But His Enemies Closer

Since Alotau Accord, the prime minister of Papua New Guinea has enjoyed an unprecedented support from government Members. This is cemented by allocation of funds and privileges enjoyed by MPs supporting the government.

Lately, EMTV report cited that 10 MPs are planning a move to opposition boosting its numbers from 8 to 18. This is short of the original 25 opposition members. Most of them – 22 altogether – have moved to join Government when they knew they would not receive their District Service Improvement Funds if they had remained with the Opposition.

Many thought that these MPs have compromised their ability to think and act as leaders when they were lured by money. Three men remained standing: Belden Namah, Sam Basil and Allan Marat. They did not trade their leadership status and their people for money.

On the other hand, politicians have their rights to practise what they perceived to be in the best interest of their people. Who are we to judge?

It has been twenty seven months of smooth-sailing for Peter O’Neill when compared to previous governments, where power struggles and government instability were major issues. But, lots of things have happened during O’Neill-Dion rule, both good and bad: loans from Exim Bank and UBS, Infrastructure developments, completion of PNGLNG project, sacking of Attorney General and Treasurer, Task Force Sweep Warrant of Arrest on Peter O’Neill, his latest referral to a Leadership Tribunal and many more.

It is important to note that the prime minister in the 9th parliament has his work cut out to remain for full 30 months. Signing of Alotau Accord and extension of grace period from 18 to 30 months has made it possible. Unless this period is tested and proven to be illegal by the Courts, Peter O’Neill will remain prime minister whether one likes it or not.

So, how long can PNC and its coalition partners enjoy the grace period? Sadly not long. O’Neill-Dion government has only 3 months before a vote-of-no-confidence it called. That means that a motion of vote-of-no-confidence on Peter O’Neill is likely to happen in February or March next year, 2015.

The government is not concerned at the moment as it is enjoying stability from within PNC and coalition partners. This remains to be seen in just 3 months.Meanwhile, Peter O’Neill may have to keep his friends close, but his enemies closer.