Papua New Guinea PM O'Neill survives no-confidence vote: media

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 21, 2016 10:39 PM

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill on Friday survived a no-confidence vote, EMTV reported, an outcome unlikely to end the upheaval in a country developing lucrative projects with energy majors ExxonMobil Corp and French giant Total SA.

The Supreme Court last week ordered parliament to reconvene for the first time since June protests between university students and police boiled over into violent clashes, for the express purpose of allowing the opposition to lodge a no-confidence motion against O'Neill.

Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil moved the motion at the opening of the session on Friday, detailing numerous accusations of corruption against O'Neill since he took office in 2010.

"To make the wrong decision here would be a mistake," Basil told parliament. "Today it is up to us on the floor to make a change."

But Basil only secured 21 of the 56 lawmakers needed to oust O'Neill, leaving unclear how long a strike by aviation, maritime and public transport workers that has effectively cut off the rugged, mountainous nation, would continue.

Australia's Oil Search Ltd on Thursday cleared the way for ExxonMobil to take over InterOil Corp for $2.2 billion, giving the U.S. giant access to a rich new gas field to expand its exports from Papua New Guinea.

The final vote count was 85 for O'Neill and 21 against, EMTV reported.

(Reporting by Matt Siegel; Editing by Nick Macfie)