15 Dec 2011

PNG's Somare calls on public servants to remain neutral

8:03 am on 15 December 2011

Papua New Guinea's re-instated leader Sir Michael Somare is calling on public servants "to remain neutral" and comply with a court order that revoked his ousting, as the political deadlock continues.

In the statement Sir Michael also repeated his earlier statement that the nation's police commissioner Tom Kulunga had been replaced by Somare appointee Fred Yakasa.

Megan Whelan reports.

"The statement came just hours after more than half of PNG's 109-member parliament voted to suspend the governor-general and replace him with a stand-in to swear in Peter O'Neill as prime minister. The MPs also voted to appeal to the Supreme Court to review its 3-2 decision to reinstate Sir Michael. In his statement, Sir Michael also sacked treasury department head Stephen Gibson and said cabinet had reinstated Somare appointee Gabriel Yer. The announcement came hours before Papua New Guinea's religious ministers are due to give a news conference in which they are expected to ask Mr O'Neill and Sir Michael to reach an agreement on the nation's leadership. The streets of the nation's sometimes volatile capital, Port Moresby, have so far remained free of political violence. The ministers' news conference is expected at 10 this morning local time."