Former Papua New Guinea Prime minister Peter O’Neill says the planned motion of no confidence against his successor James Marape should be allowed to proceed next week as required in the Constitution.

“There is nothing to be fearful of. Let the motion proceed,” O’Neill said in a statement.

“The Constitution supports a proper vote when our country has no faith in the leadership of the prime minister.

“I am a living example of this process and remain an active and citizen-driven leader of my people, despite resigning in the face of a challenge to my leadership.”

The Opposition MPs are confident that their motion for a vote of no confidence submitted in the February sitting would be actioned in the next sitting starting on Tuesday. During the February sitting, the Opposition submitted the motion three times to Parliament’s Private Business Committee but were rejected for various reasons.

It is currently not on the Notice Paper of Parliament which sits from Tuesday.

Prime Minister James Marape advised the Opposition MPs, if they want to move the motion, to do so by Wednesday as Parliament would sit for only two weeks in June.

“You only have next Wednesday for the committee to deliberate (on it), if you want it to be on the notice paper on Thursday,” Marape said.

O’Neill called on the Government not to use its numerical strength to suppress the Opposition’s attempt to move the motion.

He said every well-functioning democracy “allows for votes of no confidence”.

“Some of the world’s most notable leaders have come to power through it including Margaret Thatcher, the legendary UK Prime Minister. And just last week, the Scottish PM stood down in the face of a looming vote of no confidence,” he said.

“When a country loses faith in its elected leader, as PNG has with James Marape, Members of Parliament, take serious note and do what is enabled by our Constitution to restore confidence in the position of Prime Minister. It is simply undemocratic, dictator-like to stop or bully the Parliament to not have a vote of no confidence (VONC).”

He said that in 2019, he as PM allowed Marape to take over the position as it “gave me the opportunity to clear my name, and the nation to see first-hand that this all-talk and no-action leadership that replaced me might sound good but has put us back decades”.

“It is healthy, not destabilising, to test the strength of the current leadership through a constitutionally-allowed VONC, and the outcome must be respected. A VONC allows the frustrations and anger of our people to be properly, and without violence, heard in the Parliament.”

O’Neill said increasing violence, worsening cost of living conditions, no jobs, no investment and corruption were “just a fact of life now”.

Meanwhile, anything can happen in Parliament during a vote of no confidence (VONC), says Registry of Political Parties registrar Emmanuel Pok.

Pok said that despite official records listing members of parliament (MPs) in their respective parties, they were free to vote independently.

He made this comments after the list of members by political parties dated 30 April was released.

The office of registry of political parties releases updated lists of political parties and its members at the start and end of a month.

Pok said that despite three MPs resigning from the State Enterprises Minister William Duma’s United Resources Party: Keith Iduhu (Hiro Koiari), Maso Hewabi (Middle Fly) and William Hagahuno (Kundiawa MP), the three were still listed under the party.

“The same for Deputy Opposition Leader, James Nomane.

“He is still listed under the Pangu Party,” Pok said.

“When an MP leaves a party, he has to write to the party and officially resign and the concerned party will then write to our office, stating that he is no longer a member.

“Only then can we update the list and remove them from the party listing,” he said.

Pok also clarified that MPs are free to” vote according to their own conscience”.

“Due to the 2010 Supreme Court decision, MPs are free to vote independently during a vote of no confidence.”

“So anything can happen on the floor next week,” he said.