24 Mar 2004

PNG ombudsman takes legal action to recall parliament

6:18 am on 24 March 2004

Papua New Guinea's Ombudsman Commission has launched legal action to force the Government of Sir Michael Somare to recall parliament.

Sir Michael adjourned parliament for five months in January, a move critics see as at attempt to avoid a vote of no confidence in his administration.

The Chief Ombudsman said earlier this month that Parliament is constitutionally required to meet regularly.

The news agency AAP says the adjournment had prompted a public outcry as parliament has spent little time debating major issues such as Australia's impending deployment of 300 police and officials to fight crime and corruption.

Sir Michael has denied the adjournment was politically motivated and he has said he will recall Parliament once a court case contesting the appointment of the governor general is decided.

Sir Pato Kakaraya's election is being challenged and once the court has given its ruling, the new queen's representative will have to be sworn in by Parliament.