Papua New Guinea Opposition MPs cross floor to join Government

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Papua New Guinea's biggest Opposition party has split, with its leader and most of its members

papua-new-guinea-opposition-mps-cross-floor-to-join-government photo 1 Photo: Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says Sam Basil and the other MPs have not been promised any "goodies". (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

Papua New Guinea's biggest Opposition party has split, with its leader and most of its members joining the Government.

Deputy Opposition leader Sam Basil has brought 12 MPs from the Pangu Pati to the government of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and his People's National Congress party (PNC).

Mr Basil was one of the Government's most outspoken critics, and his successful grassroots campaign wiped out senior government MPs in his home province of Morobe.

But he said he had to respect the Prime Minister's mandate.

"We've done our part in trying to change government — we don't have the numbers," he said.

"So all I can say is that Papua New Guineans have chosen the Government, now we make our choice to join PNC."

Party members stole funds: Basil

Mr Basil has also filed a criminal complaint against members of his party executive who challenged his move, alleging they stole party funds.

"We have had three of our executive being charged for misappropriation of 50,000 [kina - about $20,000] of the election funds," he said.

The defection helps secure Mr O'Neill's grip on Government, and he praised Mr Basil and the Opposition MPs.

"It gives me great pleasure to welcome the Pangu Pati and their leader and their members to government because it is time that we put all our differences aside and work together for the good of our country," he said.

Mr O'Neill said Mr Basil and his MPs had not been promised anything for making the move.

"There is no conditions attached to their coming," he said.

"They really want to work for the people, that's why they're here, they want to work with the team.

"I don't think it's about 'goodies'."

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Article Papua New Guinea Opposition MPs cross floor to join Government compiled by www.abc.net.au

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