Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has welcomed the recent transition of a number of Government MPs to the Opposition.

He described this movement as a positive step towards strengthening the parliamentary opposition and the nation’s democracy.

Marape’s statement comes in the wake of eight Government MPs deciding to join the Opposition ranks amidst discussions of a possible motion of no confidence against Marape when Parliament meets.

He is unfazed about the moves, saying his coalition partners are solid and remained committed to delivering service to the people.

Marape said: “My core group in Pangu, United Resources Party, People’s Party, Social Democratic Party, People’s First Party, National Alliance, United Labor Party and People’s Movement for Change and others know about our collective focus to develop all parts of PNG.

“That’s why we support more to districts and provinces so all parts of our country can develop and not just the cities as was with the PNC-led government,” he said.

“That is why ministers are required to deliver on their tasks. I have a cabinet now where ministers do secret votes on NEC decisions and not left to the dictates of the PM or the sponsoring minister.

“Each minister’s performance is reviewed and, from time to time, I remind them on their work.

“For instance, the former petroleum minister, Kua, had five years to deliver our country’s production-sharing regime he was tasked to do in 2019, yet he went out without completing this key economic independence enabler I tasked him in 2019,” Marape said.

Addressing the issue, Marape expressed his satisfaction with the unfolding political events. “Over the last 18 months, our Parliament has observed a significant imbalance, with only eight MPs sitting on the Opposition benches against a whopping 104 on the Government side,” he said.

“I am pleased to see that MPs who harbor differing views are finding their rightful place among the Opposition. This reshuffling fosters a democratic environment where varied perspectives are respected and debated.

“Democracy thrives when a solid Opposition diligently keeps the Government in check, ensuring every decision made is for the ultimate good of our nation.

“It is heartening to witness our fellow MPs crossing over to the Opposition benches, ready to offer constructive criticism and engage in discourse,” Marape said.

Marape highlighted the importance of balance in the nation’s political ecosystem.

“The health of our democracy is directly proportional to a healthy, dynamic Opposition. I view this movement as a positive step towards achieving that equilibrium, ensuring our governance is both balanced and accountable.”.