By JEFFREY ELAPA
THE National Alliance party leadership has been further thrown into confusion with a row over who is the rightful highlands deputy party leader, The National reports.
Kandep MP Don Polye said he remained in that position.
But, last week, the party's parliamentarians elected Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal to the position in Polye's absence.
Polye said the position would be contested at the party's highlands caucus in Goroka on Thursday.
Polye had also challenged party members, who wanted to contest the National Alliance highlands' deputy leader position, to do so at the Goroka meeting.
"Therefore, I remain deputy leader NA highlands and I call on all leaders from the region to turn up for the meeting,'' he said.
"I call on Abal to come to the meeting and contest the leadership."
Polye maintained he was elected to that position through the normal democratic process and no one, including Abal, could take the leadership away from him unless through the party caucus meeting in Goroka.
Polye said he would respect the decision of that meeting on who should hold that position.
"Leadership cannot be sold or bought but is something that is earned," he said.
"Every time when I am out, he (Abal) tries to take away my leadership at the cabinet level and calls for meetings to get me out.
"But we have to follow the constitution of the party," he said.
"I welcome such actions through the normal democratic process of election that is through the secret ballot.
"It is a sad day to use threats to wrestle power from me.
"We've got to practise and encourage the norms and laws in place.
"We cannot use un-constitutional and unethical processes to obtain leadership because it is a public thing."
Abal was last week suspended by the party for two months.
But, on the same day he received his suspension letter, Abal was elected deputy leader of National Alliance by the highlands
parliamentarians at a meeting in Port Moresby.
Polye pointed out that under section 10 of the party constitution, he should have been the one to call the meeting in the presence of the party executives – which was not done.
He said last week's meeting was not recognised because many procedures, as outlined in the party constitution, had not been followed.
He said he, as the duly elected leader, should have been given a 30-day notice to call a meeting.
"If not followed, then the members can call for election," he said.
Polye said the meeting this week would be conducted properly with all minutes taken and proper processes followed in accordance with the constitution.
"Until then, I am still the party deputy leader of National Alliance highlands and supported by the party executives," he said.