1 Aug 2002

Papua New Guinea's National Alliance says it will be able to form a government on Monday

10:47 am on 1 August 2002

Papua New Guinea's National Alliance Party is increasingly confident it will have the numbers to form a government coalition when Parliament is due to meet next Monday.

As the most successful party in the election, winning 18 seats, the National Alliance, was formally invited earlier this week to try and form a coalition.

The Party and its coalition backers are now cloistered in Kokopo in East New Britain.

Independent candidates, who are meeting in Kimbe, have claimed they are winning the backing for an alternative coalition, while the People's Democratic Movement of caretaker Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta says it is also confident it will have the numbers by Monday.

The coalition could be a simple majority of the 94 declared MPs, but our correspondent in Kokopo, Peter Niesi, says even if it is based on the full 109 member parliament, the National Alliance is close to having the numbers.

"If the numbers are going to be 48 then basically National Alliance and its partners have secured government. If it's going to be 55 MPs, which is traditionally the case, all they need is two MPs to secure that. But given the fluidity of PNG politics we can't settle on that until it's actually secured in Parliament."

Peter Niesi