1 Sep 2011

Still in Singapore, Somare reclaims PNG prime ministership

3:07 pm on 1 September 2011

Papua New Guinea's Sir Michael Somare has issued a statement declaring he's still the country's prime minister and is ready to complete his term.

The 75-year-old made the declaration in Singapore, where he's been recovering from three heart operations since mid April.

The newspaper, The National, reports Sir Michael, who was replaced in controversial parliamentary manoeuvre last month, says he's ready, willing and able to complete his term as the legally elected prime minister of PNG.

He says there's never been a vacancy in the position of prime minister.

On August the 2nd, parliament voted 70 to 24 to declare the position of prime minister vacant, ousting Sir Michael's government and his appointee for acting prime minister, Sam Abal.

A former treasurer, Peter O'Neill, was sworn in as prime minister by the governor-general, Sir Michael Ogio, within two hours of the vote.

The O'Neill government has recalled parliament for an urgent sitting next week but backers of Sir Michael say it's a ploy to dump the veteran politician from his parliamentary seat and end his more than 40-year career.