29 Jul 2010

More tension revealed in PNG Cabinet with reshuffle changes

2:38 pm on 29 July 2010

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister has reinstalled Sam Abal as Trade and Immigration Minister after a cabinet reshuffle announced by acting Prime Minister Don Polye.

Mr Polye made eight ministerial changes on Sunday, leaving Mr Abal with just the Foreign Affairs portfolio.

Trade was given to Esa'ala MP Moses Maladina and Immigration to the Tambu Nebilyer MP Benjamin Poponawa.

But the Post Courier newspaper reports that Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare expressed disappointment after learning of the changes while in Fiji.

Now back in PNG, Sir Michael has restored the Trade and Immigration portfolios to Mr Abal.

Mr Maladina is now the State Minister on Constitutional Matters and the Electoral Commission, and Mr Poponawa is Minister for Civil Aviation.

Sir Michael remains under pressure to step down with a number of MPs and Cabinet Ministers last week defecting to the Opposition.

Earlier this week Mr Polye announced that Sir Michael was about to step down but leading officials in the ruling National Alliance have disputed this.