Papua New Guinea’s acting speaker has recommended the nation’s first prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, be referred to police after he entered parliament, brandishing a Supreme Court order that returned him to power.
Deputy Speaker Francis Marus said Sir Michael, 75, acted illegally when he and some of his supporters walked into the house chamber and placed the Supreme Court order on the Speaker’s desk on Wednesday.
The majority of parliament late last year voted to dump Sir Michael from his East Sepik electorate, which he has held for 43 years.
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“It is very clear the Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare has broken the laws of this country, and more importantly the powers and privileges of the honourable house,” Marus said.
“I therefore recommend that this honourable house refer Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare to the relevant authorities.”
Parliament adjourned soon after until Friday morning.
Police are making no comment at this time.
Sir Michael was ordered returned to power by a five-man bench of the Supreme Court on December 12 last year, four months after 75 out of 109 MPs voted to back Peter O’Neill as PM.
The court order sparked a week-long crisis in PNG, leaving it at one stage with two PMs, two cabinets, two governors-general and two police commissioners.
However, the police, military and civil service all since appear to have fallen in behind O’Neill.
Sir Michael has been issuing press statements urging the public service to recognise him and his roughly 20 supporters as the legitimate government.
When asked to comment on the deputy speaker’s comments, Sir Michael’s daughter and media spokeswoman Betha Somare responded with a press release, originally released on Wednesday, which lays out the Supreme court orders returning him to power.
“Any amended acts of parliament are subordinate to the constitution and therefore null and void,” the statement said, referring to the September 6 dumping of Somare from his parliamentary seat.
“Sir Michael therefore is still a member of the provincial seat of East Sepik.”