The de-parliamentarization of PNG

The parliament of Papua New Guinea voted in late November to extend to 30 months, from the current 18, the “grace period” following the installation of a government during which no-confidence motions are not permitted (see The Australian).

Note that the term of the PNG parliament is five years. If this measure is confirmed in a final vote set for 5 February, it would mean for fully half the term of parliament, there would be no effective responsibility of the government to parliament.

Most (all?) classifications of the world’s political systems–including some published under my own name–have PNG among the parliamentary democracies. However, calling this system parliamentary is becoming increasingly inaccurate.

Shugart and Carey (1992) refer to a hybrid type in which the assembly selects the executive, which then is not subject to confidence, as “Assembly-Independent”. PNG is trending that way, though not completely, as there will remain periods in which parliament may engage the responsibility of the government.

(I recall that there also exists a period leading up to an election in which no-confidence moves are not allowed.)

54 thoughts on “The de-parliamentarization of PNG

  1. Addendum to me @14: “lastair Cooke writes somewhere that the Democrats in 1974 warned Ford not to nominate a Vice-President who might later run for President, since this would give a never-elected incumbent an unfair advantage in the GOP primary and the general. Hence Nelson Rockefeller, who had once been considered presidential material in the 1960s but was “unelectable” in the 1970s because he’d gotten divorced and remarried…)”

    Cooke’s ipsissima verba can be found in this BBC transcript at

    “… the pundits and the commentators had a field day, first of all drawing up long and knowing lists of the men the president [Nixon] would be mostly likely to consider. And at the head of those lists were three names, Governor Nelson Rockefeller, of New York, Governor Ronald Reagan the ex-movie cowboy of California, and former Governor John Connally of Texas.
    The pundits might well have saved their breath on these three, for they typify one sort of man the Democrats, who are in a majority and run both houses, would not possibly take. And the speaker of the house, Carl Albert – who is, in the American system, also a party man and in fact the leading voice of the Democratic majority in the house – speaker Albert made it plain to the president in words of one syllabub [scil syllable??!], that his party would not take a man who could be expected to use the vice presidency as a launch pad into the White House in 1976; in other words, any man who had ambitions for the presidency…”

    Rep in The Americans: Fifty Talks on Our Life and Times (Knopf, 1980), p 121.

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