21 Dec 2011

PNG's last 2011 parliamentary sitting expected to pass budget

3:25 pm on 21 December 2011

The Papua New Guinea parliament is today expected to have its final sitting of the year and pass the budget.

This comes after a week of unprecedented political chaos in which two rival groups have claimed to be the legitimate government.

But on Tuesday, Peter O'Neill said normality had returned with his claim to the prime ministership recognised by the Governor-General, the Speaker of parliament, the police commissioner, the Defence Force and the public service.

His rival, Sir Michael Somare, still claims to be the legitimate leader but lacks public support and the numbers to challenge Mr O'Neill successfully in parliament.

A senior member of the O'Neill cabinet, Bart Philemon, says they will pass the budget this morning and complete other key legislation as well.

"We have already put [through] the first and second reading of the Sovereign Wealth Fund. The only other major legislation is the 22 women's seat one, [for] which parliament failed to get the required number of 73."

Bart Philemon.

The budget includes substantial spending increases for health and education.