25 Feb 2004

PNG Pangu Party leader stands firm on leadership issue

4:18 pm on 25 February 2004

The incumbent leader of Papua New Guinea's Pangu Pati, Chris Haiveta, has rejected claims by Foreign Affairs Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, that he has been elected leader of the Party by its parliamentary wing.

Sir Rabbie made the announcement at a press conference yesterday with New Ireland governor Ian Ling-Stuckey and other MPs Martin Aini and Atimeng Buhupe.

Mr Haiveta, who is also Gulf governor, says he is still party leader and describes the Monday meeting which elected Sir Rabbie as "illegal".

Mr Haiveta says he held another meeting on Monday which confirmed the expulsions of Sir Rabbie and Mr Aini for proposing a merger with the National Alliance.

"I remain the leader, the two members were expelled - Mr Ling Stuckey was expelled a long time ago and has not challenged that expulsion, ...as far as I am concerned the course of action we have taken was to protect the party and save it, because the Parliamentary caucus has no power to agree to a merger..."

Chris Havieta