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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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PNG Party Merger Unrecognized By Government Registry
O’Neill-Ipatas group would boast 40 members in parliament

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 23, 2013) – The merger between Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s ruling People’s National Congress Party and People’s Party (PP) is not recognized, says registrar of Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Dr. Alphonse Gelu.

Dr. Gelu told the Post-Courier it was only an amalgamation until such time the two parties comply with section 52 of the Organic Law on Political Parties & Candidates, adding both parties have not filed the necessary documents to his office.

The registrar’s announcement comes two weeks before the Parliament convenes its 2013 Parliament year which will be on February 5.

PNC currently has 32 members in the party and with the merger of Enga Governor Peter Ipatas’ People’s Party with eight MPs, they both claimed they now have 40 MPs to take on the second vote to extend the grace period before a vote of no confidence to 30 months.

The Government coalition from THE Party, National Alliance Party, People’s Progress Party, People’s United Party and other partners currently have about 92 MPs.

According to Dr. Gelu, because of Section 52 of the OLIPPAC law PP’s merger with PNC will not be numerically recognized, but still as a Government coalition. Section 52 of the OLIPPAC states that where two or more registered political parties amalgamate (a) in the case of each party, a resolution for the amalgamation of the party with the other party or parties has been agreed to by an absolute majority of the members of the party and at least 75 percent of the members of the party who are Members of Parliament.

"To date my office has not received any documentation from the two parties. Due to the failure to inform my office I therefore state that the People’s National Congress and People’s Party are still two different parties and that the amalgamation has not taken place until such time when Section 52 is complied with then the amalgamation will be recognized," Dr. Gelu said.

"The Office of the Registrar recently knew about the merger between the People’s National Congress Party and the People’s Party through the newspapers. From the outset, the correct term to describe the decision and actions of the two parties is to ‘amalgamate’ and not ‘merge.’ The Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates spells this out clearly in Section 52," he said.

According to Dr. Gelu, the Office of the Registrar must be immediately informed of the amalgamation and his office will then ensure that all the statutory requirements are complied with by the political parties.

"Whilst the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties encourages such an action by political parties, it is also important that parties prior to making a public announcement of the amalgamation, must comply with all the requirements as stipulated in the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPPAC)," he said.

While Dr. Gelu welcomed other smaller parties amalgamating as it would contribute positively to the development of the party system in the country, he also warned that it was necessary to comply with the laws and its processes, singling out less number of parties but most importantly it would allow parties that share similar views on specific policies to provide a united stand on the policies when campaigning or when in government.

In Section 52 of the OLIPPAC it stated that where two or more registered political parties may amalgamate (a) in the case of each party, a resolution for the amalgamation of the party with the other party or parties has been agreed to by an absolute majority of the members of the party and at least 75 percent of the members of the party who are Members of Parliament. In Section 52(2) it is a requirement that the public officer of each party proposing to amalgamate shall immediately (a) notify the Registrar of the proposed amalgamation and (b) supply the Registrar with the resolution and discharge of transfer of any liabilities. In Section 52 (3) the public officer of the amalgamated party shall (a) apply to the Registrar for registration of the amalgamated party

(b) Supply to the Registrar some of the information relative to the amalgamated party as is required. When the registrar is satisfied with the documentation and information provided by the parties, then he would proceed with the registration of the new party.

PNG Post-Courier: http://www.postcourier.com.pg/
Copyright 2013 PNG Post-Courier. All Rights Reserved.


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