17 Jun 2004

Mega-merger of PNG coalition parties confirmed

2:04 pm on 17 June 2004

There's been confirmation of a key merger in Papua new Guinea politics involving several parties in the present coalition government.

After months of secret meetings between parties, It's been confirmed that one faction of the Pangu Pati led by Sir Rabbie Namaliu has agreed to merge with the Melanesian Alliance Party led by Sir Moi Avei.

The United Party led by Bire Kimisopa is also poised to merge, as well as ongoing dialogue with the PNG Party led by Sir Mekere Morauta.

Sir Moi has confirmed the three parties have agreed in principle to the merger, which he says is intended to consolidate the government coalition.

Our correspondent Peter Niese reports that the merge would sure up MP numbers...

"The mega-merger will give you a total of seven. Sir Moi Avei, Sir Rabbie Namaliu and Sir Mekere Morauta are in favour of stability in government which is part of the reason why they're sticking together. But the impact of numbers is that it brings a power base and when you have a power base in PNG politics the temptation to move for the top post is very much there. So it's something that will need to be watched in the coming days as PNG's political movements continue."

Peter Niese reporting from Port moresby