17 May 2004

Uncertainty in PNG politics persists

1:33 pm on 17 May 2004

Uncertainty remains in Papua New Guinea over whether the coalition government will survive this session of Parliament and remain in government.

The prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, says he will announce a government re-shuffle amid instability in government ranks which he says stems from within coalition ranks.

Sir Michael is expected to address the entry of the PNG Party, led by Sir Mekere Morauta, into the coalition.

But the government is under threat by demands from coalition partners, with media reports saying since Friday a lot of political party splits have occurred.

The leader of the PNG Labour Party, Peter Yama, has announced his intention to take over as opposition leader to take the position from Sir Mekere.

The opposition leadership is also reported to be sought by Andrew Baing and Tim Neville.

Mr Yama has told a rally that Sir Michael's decision to invite Sir Mekere follows a decision by the voters in the election two years ago to reject the party led by Sir Mekere.