28 Jun 2011

Sir Michael Somare retires from PNG politics

7:24 pm on 28 June 2011

The Somare family has announced the retirement of the veteran Papua New Guinea politician and prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, after nearly 50 years in politics.

A statement, signed by one of his sons, Arthur Somare, says the retirement is due to medical reasons and the uncertainty of the recovery period.

It says an operation to replace a leaking heart valve in Singapore was successful but subsequently other complications had developed.

The statement says his retirement has not been an easy decision to take without full and proper consultation with Sir Michael.

He has been on indefinite medical leave since mid-April.

Sir Michael was suspended from office on April the 4th following the judgment of a specially-convened international tribunal which found him guilty on 13 charges of failing to fill in financial forms correctly.

He became the first prime minister after independence in 1975 and regained the top job a last time in 2002 and was re-elected in 2007.