2 Sep 2011

PNG's Sir Michael Somare about to return to politics but family still hoping he'll retire

12:52 pm on 2 September 2011

While Papua New Guinea's former prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, is due to return to parliament next week, his family continues to hope he'll retire.

Sir Michael has been receiving medical care in Singapore since April but is expected in Port Moresby this weekend in time for a critical early recall of parliament on Tuesday.

This week Sir Michael declared he remained the country's prime minister, despite his controversial ousting, in his absence, a month ago, and that he intended completing his term.

In late June, one of Sir Michael's sons, MP Arthur Somare, said the family wished to retire Sir Michael due to the uncertainty surrounding his medical state.

It sparked an outcry, not least from other members of the Somare family, and now Arthur Somare says he was incorrectly quoted.

He says retirement is a decision only parliament can make.

"If you read my statement and watch the media interview I made it absolutely clear that I had no power to retire him. It was merely a public expression on the family's behalf stating that we wished for our father, who was several months in hospital, to take a life in retirement."