PAPUA New Guinea’s Supreme Court has overturned changes made to the nation’s constitution instituted by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill over two years ago, on parliament and motions of no confidence.
Among the changes Mr O’Neill made were an extension of the grace period protecting a government from no-confidence votes from 18 to 30 months after an election.
No-confidence motions required the support of 22 MPs, up from 11, and requried one month’s instead of one week’s notice under the changes.
The other key change that the O’Neill government had made was reducing the number of parliament sitting days in a year from 63 days to 40 days.
At the time, the prime minister argued that these changes were necessary in order for PNG to have political stability.
Radio New Zealand reported that PNG Chief Justice Salamo Injia said the amendments prevented accountability and restricted the right of MPs under other provisions of Constitution.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said he respected the decision, adding that the moves were originally made to further enhance government stability.
“When Governments used to change every couple of years growth was undermined and investors stay away,” he said.
“Now it will be for future parliaments to take into account the court decision as there will be further constitutional reforms developed that will seek to consolidate stability in the country.”