20 Dec 2011

End of PNG's GG suspension weakens Somare bid for power

6:13 am on 20 December 2011

Peter O'Neill and his administration tightened their grip on control of government in Papua New Guinea after parliament lifted the suspension of the Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio.

Mr O'Neill and his majority parliament grouping lifted the suspension after the Governor-General admitted reinstating Sir Michael Somare as prime minister last Wednesday was based on flawed advice.

Johnny Blades reports.

"The reinstatement of the Governor General comes a week since the Supreme Court ruling that the August election of Peter O'Neill was illegal sparked a standoff over which group was government. With the Governor-General now following the head of the Public Service and Police Chief in recognising Peter O'Neill as Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare appears to have lost most of his significant support bases. Sir Michael is refusing to back down from his claim to be Prime Minister and insists that the constitution he helped write as PNG gained independence in 1975 must rule supreme. However while Sir Michael has been barely seen in public since the impasse began, Peter O'Neill has been confidently asserting control of public institutions. He described the Governor-general's confirmation of his Prime Ministership as the perfect Christmas present for the nation."