The National - Tuesday, August 9th 2011
THE National Alliance party’s deputy highlands parliamentary leader Don Polye has been elected as the party’s new parliamentary leader replacing Sir Michael Somare.
The Kandep MP, who is the finance and treasury minister, was elected by less than half of the party’s 42 members during the NA caucus meeting in Minj, Jiwaka region, yesterday.
The parliamentary wing that attended the caucus meeting passed a resolution to appoint Polye but this did not go down well with Madang regional MP Sir Arnold Amet, who claimed to represent the Momase region.
Sir Arnold said there was no vacancy and that the party must follow due process.
He said if the NA believed in party principles, then, it must not violate the party’s constitution for the sake of convenience.
East New Britain Governor Leo Dion countered that as per the party’s constitution, they were there to elect a new parliamentary leader.
Sir Michael’s term as leader expired this year and he gave instructions last February to begin the process of appointing a new leader.
Dion, who claimed to speak on behalf of the New Guinea Islands region, said they could not keep their people and party supporters in suspense.
He said he fully supported the resolution passed by the parliamentary wing to elect Polye as the new parliamentary leader.
Polye said there was no time left, the general election was nine months away and they needed a leader to take the party into the election.
He told party executives and members that the NA parliamentary wing was already split.
He said this was because of the actions of two or three members in the ousted NA-led government.
Polye said the party, which was built on good values and principles, had been destroyed.
He said the NA was an institution and they needed to protect it from being destroyed by a small group of MPs in the party.
He said because of bad governance, he tried to stem what he described as “the flood but it was so huge” that led others to the opposition to form the new government in order to uphold the good principles and values of the party.
Polye said it was not a bad move and they were rewarded with nine ministerial portfolios.
Of the 42 NA members in parliament, 19 MPs from both sides of parliament attended the meeting.
They included Lucas Dekena, James Gau, Buka Malai, Leo Dion, Sai Besio, Mark Maipakai, Peter Titus, Andrew Mald, Yawa Silupa, Michael Sape, Mathew Poia, David Arore and Polye.
Four MPs from the opposition present were James Marape, Benjamin Mul, Sir Arnold Amet and Sani Rambi.
Sam Abal, Patrick Pruaitch, Arthur Somare, Ano Pala and Jeffery Nape did not attend.