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Papua New Guinea leader survives no-confidence vote

Papua New Guinea`s Prime Minister Peter O`Neill survived a no-confidence vote in parliament Friday over corruption allegations following weeks of protests and civil disobedience urging him to resign.



Sydney: Papua New Guinea`s Prime Minister Peter O`Neill survived a no-confidence vote in parliament Friday over corruption allegations following weeks of protests and civil disobedience urging him to resign.

O`Neill, who came to power in 2012, was forced to face the opposition-sponsored motion by the Supreme Court but won comfortably 85 to 21, PNG commercial television network EMTV and other media reported.

The impoverished, crime-ridden Pacific nation, north of Australia, has been plagued by outbreaks of violence against the O`Neill administration in recent times amid growing calls for him to step down.

University students have boycotted classes as part of their campaign to get rid of him, with protests turning violent last month when police opened fire on students, injuring dozens, some critically.

Local reports said that since then pilots and maritime workers have staged their own protests, calling in sick en masse.

O`Neill had fought back against the vote in recent days, saying the country needed political stability to maintain economic growth.

"We all know political stability is very vital, for the development of our country and the continued growth of our economy," PNG`s Post-Courier quoted him as saying Thursday.

"Today as you can see, the warnings this week from the International Monetary Fund on slower global economic growth this year and in 2017 makes it even more critical than ever that Papua New Guinea maintains a strong and competent national government."

O`Neill has been wanted for questioning by anti-corruption police for the past two years but has refused to comply with a warrant for his arrest.

Police are investigating whether he authorised millions of dollars in illegal payments from the government to Paraka Lawyers, one of the nation`s largest law firms. He denies the allegations.

When the arrest warrant was issued in 2014, O`Neill sacked the PNG police commissioner, fired his attorney-general and suspended numerous other justice department and police officials.

From Zee News

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