Assorted MPs, assorted parties: James Marape’s coalition
By Michael Kabuni On 10 September 2019, the Opposition Leader of the Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and leader of the National Alliance party, Patrick Pruaitch joined the government coalition led by Prime Minister James Marape, a member of the Pangu Pati. Such fluidity in PNG politics is nothing new. It was even expected, after National Alliance members Allan Bird, Walter Snaulbelt, Ian Ling-Stuckey and Peter Isoaimo, along with other opposition MPs, including Mekere Mourata and Garry Juffa, joined the Marape-led coalition at the end of August 2019. What is of interest is the composition of the government coalition: Mekere Mourata, the opposition nominee who challenged Marape for the prime minister’s position on 30 May 2019; Patrick Pruaitch, the opposition leader who sought a Supreme Court reference questioning Marape’s election; and about six MPs who did not vote for Marape on 30 May.
As part of the recent reshuffle, Marape removed the People’s National Congress (PNC) led by former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill from the coalition on 26 August, and took away the treasury portfolio from senior PNC MP Richard Maru, giving it instead to National Alliance MP Ian Ling-Stuckey. Marape was a member of the PNC four months ago. All 22 current PNC MPs, and those who resigned from the party before and after the 30 May election, voted for Marape as PM. Some PNC MPs, like Justin Tkachenko, Minister for Housing, have said they will support Marape’s government, which has been seen by many as a bid to avoid losing their ministerial portfolios. On 28 August Peter O’Neill said that all 22 PNC MPs, including the eight ministers would remain with the government despite having been asked to leave the government. Two days later, Marape reiterated Pangu Pati’s position saying that they had …read more