PNG: James Marape’s coalition MPs defect, threat of no confidence vote looms

In the last 24 hours, a serious rift has become evident in the Papua New Guinea government after 18 members of the Pangu Pati-led coalition, including five ministers, moved to the opposition in preparation for the vote of no confidence this week.

The faction is led by Prime Minister James Marape’s closest ally, former Planning Minister Renbo Paita.

Members of Parliament who joined the opposition posted pictures on Facebook announcing their defection on Saturday night.

The move was later confirmed through a statement by Prime Minister Marape early Sunday morning.

“A few hours ago, I received news that 18 MPs including five ministers to join up with the Opposition,” he said.

“In some ways, this is a blessing in disguise for me that some of the excess fat in government is trimmed.”

Last week, Marape said his government remained “steadfast and undeterred” amid the threat of a vote of no confidence.

This is the biggest shift in numbers since Marape took office in 2019 in a similar vote of no confidence in 2019 against former prime minister Peter O’Neill.

Meanwhile, Marape said he would not resign from his position.

He has urged the people of PNG and the business community to continue their daily activities without disruption as the political process unfolds.

“Pangu has 41 MPs as of today (Monday), and with our Coalition partners, we have more than the required 56 MPs to remain in government,” Marape said in a news release.

“I appeal to our people, investors, and business houses not to be deterred.

We’ve had changes of government in our 49 years of independence through votes of no confidence and general elections, and never has the country shifted the goal post away from being democratic.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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