13 May 2011

Talks over leadership of PNG ruling party continue

6:47 pm on 13 May 2011

Papua New Guinea's ruling party has met again today to discuss who should succeed Sir Michael Somare as the party's leader.

This follows reports that Sir Michael has a serious heart condition which may prevent him from resuming the Prime Ministership.

The 75-year old has been in Singapore for six weeks where complications emerged from one heart operation, requiring a second.

His National Alliance party has been in talks ahead of a likely selection process for a new leader.

The leading candidates are the Foreign Minister Don Polye and the acting Prime Minister Sam Abal.

The party's constitution stipulates that its leader must be the head MP from one of four regional blocs.

Mr Polye is the head of the powerful Highlands bloc to which Mr Abal also belongs.