PNG - Women's Bill for 2017

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24 February 2012

PORT MORESBY - The campaign by Papua New Guinea women to have 22 reserved seats in parliament has ended ù for now.  They will have to wait until the next election in 2017 to fight for the seats again.  Those who want to stand in the 2012 election will have to compete against male colleagues.  The organic law on national and local level government elections (amendment No 2) introduced by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill failed to get the absolute majority of 73 needed to have it passed on Wednesday.

As the vote was about to be taken, 21 members of parliament walked out of the chamber.  Only 58 members voted for the Bill.  The only MP who voted against the bill was Governor of Western Dr Bob Danaya who has been against the Bill since it's introduction.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, who has been supporting the Bill, was unhappy when it did not go through.  "I'm disappointed that the Bill did not pass in the house today," he said.  "It is clear some members harbour the view that this may not be the right time to pass this Bill, which has now lapsed. But the affirmative vote shows a strong support for this Bill on the floor still.  "I want to encourage our women leaders and supporters of this Bill not to give up. Where there is a will, there is a way."

Meanwhile, parliament has unanimously passed legislative amendments to reduce the Open seats from 110 to 89 in accordance with the Constitution.

[Fiji Times - Pns]

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