Pressure is mounting in Papua New Guinea to remove PM Peter O’Neill

PORT MORESBY, May 4, 2019, RNZ. Pressure is mounting in Papua New Guinea to remove prime minister Peter O’Neill. Yesterday three more ministers resigned from Mr O’Neill’s People’s National Congress party, and the government, reported the Radio New Zealand.

The Health Minister Sir Puka Temu, Defence Minister Solan Mirisim, and Forestry Minister Douglas Tomuriesa have announced their resignations from their portfolios.

Six other government MPs joined them in a news conference on Friday afternoon to announce their resignations from the PNC.

This follows the resignations of eight other MPs from the PNC in the past week.

Sir Puka told the news conference that during the PNC caucus meeting yesterday, Peter O’Neill rejected calls for him to step down.

This led to the resignations.

The opposition is planning to table a motion of no-confidence against Mr O’Neill in the coming weeks.

Opposition sources cites Wednesday 15 March as a possible date for the vote.

MPs who have resigned since last week have now reportedly been joined by opposition MPs at their lobby base at Port Moresby’s Laguna Hotel.

They have been appealing to remaining government MPs to join them in removing Mr O’Neill.

Earlier in the week, the prime minister expressed confidence that he would maintain majority support within the 111-seat parliament.

But reports from the PNG capital this morning indicated 57 MPs were meeting at the Laguna.

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