27 Jan 2012

PNG Supreme Court to decide legality of rival PMs

9:31 am on 27 January 2012

Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court will take charge of all politically motivated court proceedings now before the National Court as an unprecedented power struggle continues.

The veteran politician Sir Michael Somare claims to be the legitimate prime minister based on a Supreme Court ruling last month but key institutions have opted to keep backing Peter O'Neill as the head of government based on its actions in parliament.

The National Court has now decided to refer the question on who is the legitimate government to the Supreme Court to settle.

The crucial case is to determine the status of the police commissioner which in turn will clarify the legal stading of the two men claiming to be the prime minister.