9 Dec 2010

PNG deputy PM Polye reinstated 24 hours after sacking

4:05 pm on 9 December 2010

Papua New Guinea media are reporting that 24 hours after he was dumped at deputy prime minister, Don Polye has been re-instated.

The prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, made sweeping changes to his cabinet earlier this week as he anticipated a possible suspension over alleged misconduct in office charges.

Sir Michael had wanted the foreign minister, Sam Abal - a close colleague - as deputy prime minister to be able to stand in for him in the event he has to step aside.

But our correspondent, Oseah Philemon, says there was an outcry from the Highlands provinces over Mr Polye's dumping and this led to his re-instatement.

"He's got a lot of support. He's more outspoken than Sam Abal but also a man of great experience. He has been very active at the regional level, in terms of getting support for the National Alliance, so he has a lot of support in cabinet and also outside cabinet among the ranks of the Highlands bloc and he is a likely contender for the post of prime minister when Sir Michael Somare steps out completely."

Oseah Philomen says Sir Michael Somare is yet to officially confirm Mr Polye's re-instatement.

The other cabinet movements, such as the appointment of Sir Arnold Amet as attorney general, stand.