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Subject: Should Regional Seats/Governors be maintained?

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Date Posted: Sat, Oct 14 2006, 11:19:34pm

Fellow Engans and Papua New Guineans;

Rumours are circulating in Port Moresby that most open MPs are not in favor of supporting a bill to maintain Regional Seats for a further 5 years from the 2007 National Elections. It seems there will be a constitutional crisis and numerous court precedings taken out by incumbent governors (including our very own Honorable Peter Ipatas). The deadline for the bill is scheduled by April 17 (2007) which is the date of when the Return of Writs for Election 2007 is due.

It costs the country millions of kina per regional seat. Do you think the nomination of an open MP or council president as "Provincial Governor" would be constitutional and democratic? Would it provide useful savings for the public purse or will it worsen public welfare? What are your thoughts and opinions? (I reserve mine for the time being?


Post Courier; Thursday October 12 (2006)

Governors send SOS

ALL Open Members of Parliament have been called on to turn up in the National Parliament next week to help the Government pass the electoral legislative changes to retain the provincial seats. The call was made in Alotau yesterday by the governors attending their annual and last conference before the 2007 general elections. Sidelined Southern Highlands Governor Hami Yawari threatened yesterday to seek a Supreme Court interpretation of the position of governor if Parliament fails to pass the law to retain the seats. Mr Yawari called on all Open MPs to turn up for Parliament sitting and pass the legislation.

The Prime Minister and Provincial Member for East Sepik, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, led the discussion which led the governors to voting for the retention of the provincial seats until the 2012 general elections. It was the first item on the agenda of the conference which was opened by the Prime Minister. Sir Michael told the governors that if “we do not act quickly and collectively, we will be affected prior to or when it comes to re-contesting the 2007 national elections. “It is not only in our interest but the interest of the country that we get the co-operation of all Open and Regional Members of Parliament in our respective provinces to support the passage of this critical law.” Sir Michael said outside the conference the Government would do all it can to have all its members in the chamber to take the critical vote which requires 83 Members.

The conference had lengthy discussions on a paper presented by the Governor of Central, Alphonse Moroi on the issue. Mr Moroi could not attend the conference due to a reported fatal road accident involving some of his staff and supporters. His paper highlighted justification for the retention of the provincial seats saying there would be chaos if the seats were abolished. Mr Moroi’s submission stated that abolishing the provincial seats will have adverse effects on the provincial administrations as well because a new revised provincial government system will create confusion and disrupt the administrative procedures and processes now aligned with the provincial government form of governance. Enga Governor Peter Ipatas said his experience over the last 10 years showed that the present system of having a provincial governor provided stability in the province.

Mr Ipatas warned of political instability in the provinces if Open MPs are allowed to contest the seat of governor. Gulf Governor, Chris Haiveta, said any review of the system of having governors should involved reviewing the whole system of provincial government and not just the governors’ position in isolation. Mr Haiveta agreed that the position of governor provided a lot of political stability in the province. The conference resolved to retain the provincial seats until 2012 elections and for the Constitutional Review Commission to review the present law

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