Prime Minister Toppled In No-Confidence Vote
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) _ Paias Wingti today became the third prime minister in this nation’s 13-year history to be toppled by a no-confidence motion in parliament.
After a weekend of intense lobbying, parliament deputies voted 58-50 to replace Wingti with opposition leader Rabbie Namaliu.
Wingti, 36, led the People’s Democratic Movement, which governed in a coalition with the National Party.
Namaliu, 39, took over leadership of the Pangu Pati (party) last week. He represents Kokopo, an electorate on East New Britain in the New Guinea islands.
The new government of this nation north of Austrialia comprises Namaliu’s own Pangu Pati, the Melanesian alliance and several other small factions formed mainly along tribal lines.
Wingti blamed his downfall on a faction of the National Party led by his long-time rival Paul Pora.
Namaliu becomes Papua New Guinea’s fourth prime minister since it gained independence in 1975. The British Commonwealth nation had formerly been administered by Australia.
After today’s vote, Namaliu was taken to the governor-general’s office to be sworn in. The parliament was adjourned until the new government is ready to resume business.
Papua New Guinea is one of the most primitive nations on earth. About 89 percent of its 3.2 million people live in rural areas without road access.