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PNC – led Parliamentary Monarchy: The Revolt Is Inevitable?

In the count – down to APEC PNG 2018, and its aftermath, the PNC – led parliamentary monarchy may be prone to trigger a revolt or resistance. It would be inevitable after the options to legitimate the role of state fails to yield in which the threshold is already reached, and it cannot manipulate minds and emotions of the people or citizenry anymore. And, it is too much for society. 

Here a revolt is inevitable. This is so especially if the executive cannot manufacture consent of the people, and the tip of the ice berg is those who are protesting over whatever issue, to rule before the next periodic elections in 2022. 
 
The Opposition is calling for national general strike. It means there is something lacking about the role of the legislature as a mechanism of checks and balance. It further points to the fact that coalition – building in PNG’s parliamentary monarchy or Westminster democracy which is characterized by coalition governments, after ten national general elections since independence in 1975, has turned into a one – way traffic.
 
Yet, the country’s parliamentary monarchy is defined by prime ministers being called to account by having greater limits on their autonomy. 

Thus, a prime minister’s powers are limited in four ways: he shares executive power with cabinet ministers from other parties, requiring a process of bargaining and negotiation over key policy decisions within the government; he also remains continually dependent upon the support of a multiparty coalition in parliament to pass the government’s legislative proposals; as head of the government his ruling regime faces the continual threat of a no confidence vote in parliament; and, the ruling regime remains accountable to the electorate for its record and performance at regular intervals. 

The Opposition is doing its job.There are arguments for and against why there is no other way. And, the slogan is 'Enough Is Enough.'

Case 1

Political stability is necessary:

- Enables the government to devise and implement policy programs to bring development
- Provide a favourable business environment
- Changing governments disrupts the implementation of development programs. 

According to research, from independence in 1975 to 2002 successive votes of no confidence have removed prime ministers and sometimes replaced the executive in its entirety. No government has ever had the chance to fully implement its policies. In 2002, Ben Reilly noted that Papua New Guinea’s unbroken record of democracy has not been accompanied by economic development. 

PNG politics was unstable before 2002. Between 1975 and 2018, even though PNG has had only nine national elections, there were 15 changes to the prime minister’s position, many more than just the six times prime ministers were removed after elections.

Case 2

Political stability entrenches corruption:

- Prevents diagnosis of symptom of a much deeper problem due to the way politics in Melanesia goes on.
- Allows the malpractice of an irresponsible government to continue.

 For instance, Jon Frankel and his co-authors argued in 2008 that political instability in Melanesia is a result of MPs who consider access to elected office as the main avenue for power and wealth, and the outcome of a struggle by those MPs not in control of the resources to oust the executive. Those in the executive controlling the resources are then forced to use bribery, coercion and all kinds of malpractice to remain in power.

The Opposition has weighed out its role as part of the legislature but still called for a national general strike on Friday 25th October 2018. It seems a dysfunctional legislature has struggled to come to terms with the decision of the ruling regime led by prime minister Peter Oneill for PNG to host the APEC Leaders’ Summit amidst the country’s public health, currency exchange and foreign debt crises.  

In other parts of the world effective uses of nonviolent resistance has made a difference. In this case, ordinary citizens can make their economic and political power felt, a day when they can show their strength and commitment to make a strong statement peacefully without the spectacle of being arrested for taking part in protests to demand that government be held accountable where necessary.

Decide. 'I Will Stay Home!' effort is for one day, a mosquito bite, but it might make the difference you want to see.

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