Leader of the National Alliance party Patrick Pruaitch today announced their defection (19 members) from the opposition to the government.
The announcement was made before few of his strong party members who included East Sepik Governor Allan Bird, Namatanai MP Walter Snaubelt, Kavieng MP Ian Ling-Stuckey and Kairuku Hiri MP Peter Isoaimo.
At the end of last month,Bird, Snaubelt and Ling-Stuckey moved when Prime Minister James Marape also appointed Ling-Stuckey as the country’s Treasurer during a minor reshuffle.
Yangoru-Saussia MP Richard Maru, a member of People’s National Congress party was dumped as National Planning Minister and the Prime Minister asked the PNC party to move to the opposition.
In today’s announcement Pruaitch said their agenda to join the Marape-Steven government was to form an alliance that could develop strategies to rescue the country from a ‘turbulent’ period.
He said they believed they had experiences which they could use working with the government to develop strategies in rescuing the country.
He highlighted issues of high debt, reduced foreign reserves, huge borrowings and a mismatch between budgets and actual delivery of services such as health and education particularly to rural areas- challenges they need to work on.
“We feel that together we can,” he said.
“Our people deserve this.”
He said they also share similar development views envisioned by the Marape –Steven government besides they were the part of the team that pushed for a change in government in May camping at the Laguna Hotel and it was fitting they teamed up.
Prime Minister James Marape has accepted the National Alliance team.
“They bring to us an additional experience and firepower as we work to take back PNG from greed and corruption and ensure that we work together to make Papua New Guinea the richest black Christian nation,” he said.
“The work that lies in front of us is greater, especially due to the fact that our economy is in stagnation, but I know our combined efforts will do well for our country.”
The Prime Minister commended Pruaitch for putting aside personal interests and allow the country’s interest to take precedence.
“We look forward and embrace this political partnership for the betterment of our country going forward,” Marape said.
Pruaitch recently filed a Supreme Court reference to interpret whether the election of Marape as Prime Minister in May was legal and last week the Supreme Court ruled Pruaitch had standing as the Opposition Leader and a citizen to bring the case to court.
EMTV news reports he would seek legal advice on how he would deal with the case which is on foot adding public interest was paramount.