3 Aug 2011

New PNG PM confident he can overcome Abal legal challenge

9:54 pm on 3 August 2011

Papua New Guinea's New Prime Minister says he's confident he can defend any legal challenge by the ousted acting Prime Mnister Sam Abal over parliament's decision to form a new government.

Yesterday, the opposition joined with government MPs to have the prime minister's office declared vacant due to veteran Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare's prolonged absense because of ill-health.

They voted to replace Sam Abal with the former treasurer, Peter O'Neill.

Mr Abal has vowed to fight the matter in court, saying the vote was unconstitutional.

The AAP reports that after a swearing-in ceremony at government house for his new cabinet, Mr O'Neill said Sam Abal needed to respect the decision of parliament.

The ministerial swearing-in ceremony of 11 MPs saw former opposition leader Belden Namah sworn in as deputy prime minister.

Former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta will also take up a ministerial role.

The line up also includes former deputy Prime Minister, Sir Puka Temu, a founder of Sir Michael's National Alliance party.