IN WHAT seemed to be an overwhelming display of strength, the PNG Parliament last Friday voted by 85 to 21 to retain Prime Minister Peter O'Neill until the 2017 national election.
The numbers were potentially much closer. Three former prime ministers – Michael Somare, Mekere Morauta and Julius Chan – voted with the opposition but a fourth, Paias Wingti, decided just before the vote to support the government. He could have brought with him up to 26 votes, and this may have triggered others to abandon O'Neill.
The road to the vote of no confidence was painful, even deadly.