Papua New Guinea Supreme Court has ruled that Opposition Leader Douglas Tomuriesa had “standing” to pursue the special reference filed to recall Parliament to sit and deal with a notice of no-confidence motion against Prime Minister James Marape.

The five-men bench led by Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika handed down the decision Friday in Port Moresby.

Following the ruling, Tomuriesa said the opposition is relieved the special reference will now proceed to the Supreme Court for directions hearing and later to its substantive hearing by the five-men bench.

An intervener in the special reference application, Attorney General Pila Niningi also welcomed the court’s decision and said the interveners will be filing their objections to the application before the five-men bench.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister James Marape has praised the country’s vibrant democracy as he appealed to Papua New Guineans to respect the Opposition for its decision to go to Court on Parliament’s processing of their motion on the Vote of No Confidence.

Marape said it was within the rights of the Opposition to take this course of action, just as Parliament is within its rights to defend its processes and procedures, which it will be doing soon.

“I want to appeal to our people far and wide to not personalise this matter.

The Opposition going to court is totally within the rights of its members.

“All Members of Parliament are elected by the people and have every right to scrutinise the Executive Government and oppose it if they feel they have an issue,” he said.

PM Marape said as the country approaches its 50th Independence anniversary, Papua New Guineans – no matter their political affiliation – should be proud of democratic processes taking place, which include the Judiciary’s role in reading the law, and formation of governments which take place on the floor of Parliament.

“When similar nations have fallen to mob rule, military coups and one-man dictatorship takeovers, Papua New Guinea continues to uphold democracy 49 years on, where forming governments on the floor of Parliament has become our great strength.”

He appealed to Papua New Guineans, and in particular his supporters and the supporters of Pangu Pati nationwide, to refrain from personalising the matter when expressing themselves on the media (including social media) and in person.

“I want those on my side of politics to show respect at all times to all leaders of our country when they are discussing this on social media or generally in the community.

“Pangu Pati stands for united Papua New Guinea. In a land of great diversity, we must learn to tolerate each other’s opinions and the democratic rights of our people to express themselves,” he said.