3 Aug 2007

PNG's National Alliance may boost its MPs to 40 with independents joining its ranks

6:17 pm on 3 August 2007

Papua New Guinea's biggest political party, the National Alliance, is expected to have its numbers boosted dramatically by independent MPs over the next week, ahead of the first sitting of Parliament.

The NA, which is led by the present Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, has been in camp in Kokopo in East New Britain, where they have pulled together a possible coalition of 14 parties and a host of independents.

The election writs are returned on Monday and in the weeklong window before Parliament sits for the first time on August 13th many independents are expected to formally join parties.

Our correspondent, Alex Rheeney, reports from Kokopo, that the National Alliance has 27 seats and that could be boosted to 40 by independents.

"There's a number of them who have already signed agreements with National Alliance - about ten at the latest count, and the National Alliance expects the number to go up to about 13. They are expecting 13 independents to sign up with them over the next few days."

Alex Rheeney