7 Sep 2011

Somare removal deemed harsh by PNG observer

5:04 pm on 7 September 2011

The executive director of Papua New Guinea's Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker, says the speaker's disqualifying of former prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, from parliament seems a little harsh.

Sir Michael returned to parliament for the first time in five months yesterday after receiving medical care in Singapore, but speaker, Jeffrey Nape, applying a constitutional ruling, declared his East Sepik seat vacant.

Mr Barker says their understanding was that while Sir Michael had missed three sessions, he had had leave of parliament for the first of those and was returning to ensure he didn't forfeit the seat by missing another.

"If he'd missed this one he'd have automatically forfeited his seat but it seems a little bit hard of the Speaker, but he got approval from Parliament, but it seems a little bit harsh to have included the first session where they did seem to give an approval."