7 May 2004

PNG opposition leader's position disputed

4:11 pm on 7 May 2004

A senior staff member at the Office of the Speaker in Papua New Guinea says Andrew Baing is not the Opposition Leader.

Mr Baing was voted in by at least 14 MPs this week in a move to replace Sir Mekere Morauta after Sir Mekere indicated he may join the government alliance.

The National newspaper quotes a staff member as saying until such time as the Speaker recognizes him as Opposition leader, Mr Baing is not the leader.

Sir Mekere Morauta has continued to operate from his office as Opposition Leader.

The office of the Speaker also pointed out that the political parties involved in the ouster of Sir Mekere have internal problems.

The staff member says the majority of the People's Progress Party members are in government and have been recognized as the legitimate group by the Speaker while Andrew Baing is leading two others.

He says so until they sort themselves out, the Speaker does not recognize Mr Baing as Opposition leader.