31 May 2003

PNG prime minister plans to retire in 2007

9:33 am on 31 May 2003

Members of the National Alliance in Papua New Guinea have revealed that prime minister Sir Michael Somare plans to retire from politics in 2007 and hand over leadership to treasurer Bart Philemon.

The National newspaper reports that party insiders have said that Sir Michael's son, Arthur doesn't want the leadership.

By 2007 Sir Michael will have served as a parliamentarian for 40 years, the longest serving MP in the Commonwealth.

The National Alliance leadership has been a contentious issue, causing a rift between Sir Michael and Mr Philemon and reulting in a walkout by two high-profile members in 2001.