9 Dec 2011

PNG Supreme Court defers decision on legitimacy of government

5:01 pm on 9 December 2011

The Papua New Guinea Supreme Court has deferred until Monday a ruling on the legitimacy of the election of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

The August election came after then prime minister Sir Michael Somare was declared to have vacated his seat due to missing three consecutive sittings of parliament.

The prime ministership was filled by Mr O'Neill in a parliamentary vote of 70 to 24.

A last-minute application by Mr O'Neill to have the Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia, recused from the five-strong bench ruling on the matter has also been deferred until Monday.

Lawyers for Mr O'Neill have alleged Sir Salamo had a secret meeting with the son of Sir Michael.

Meanwhile, parliament has reportedly rescinded a leave of absence granted to Sir Michael in March for his overseas travel to receive medical treatment.

The Speaker has again declared the East Sepik provincial seat vacant.