21 May 2004

PNG opposition leader faces unity struggle

10:54 am on 21 May 2004

The Papua New Guinea opposition is trying to regroup after it announced its third leader in a month.

Peter O'Neill, a former senior partner in government, accepted his role as leader of the Opposition at a meeting of the caucus on Wednesday.

His appointment came the day after he and his party were dumped from the governing coalition.

The former opposition leader, Sir Mekere Morauta joined the government, and MP Andrew Baing made an unsuccessful bid for the opposition's leadership.

Our correspondent in Port Moresby, Peter Niesi, says Mr O'Neill has the unenviable task of trying to unite and strengthen the opposition.

"Mr O'Neill now leads the opposition group of members, which includes factions of the government parties; coalition government partners like the People's Progress Party, United Resources Party, even People's Action Party representatives were there as well ."