28 Jan 2012

PNG PM hints at early election

10:53 am on 28 January 2012

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O'Neill, says he will move to dissolve parliament next month and go to early polls to end the current political impasse.

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

Mr O'Neill came to power after Sir Michael was ruled to have missed too many sessions of parliament, while he was out of the country for medical treatment.

Our correspondent in Port Moresby, Jonathan Tannos, says while Mr O'Neill has the backing of a majority of MPs, it is unlikely they would vote to dissolve parliament.

"In Parliament now, nobody wants to prematurely end their term of office, they'd rather see it through until the scheduled election in June, so he can say whatever he wants to say. It's a game play, right now, he's sort of dangling the carrot in front of the donkey."

Jonathan Tannos says it is very unlikely that Sir Michael's camp, which has been boycotting Parliament, would attend to vote to dissolve parliament.