13 Feb 2012

PNG Supreme Court to rule on political deadlock

5:59 am on 13 February 2012

The Papua New Guinea Supreme Court is today due to set a timetable to hear cases relating to a law passed by parliament to legitimise the dumping of the Somare government.

The court announced last week it would lay out the order in which it would hear the cases.

Don Wiseman has more.

"It is the latest development after weeks of turmoil following the Supreme Court ruling in December that Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and the majority of parliament had acted unconstitutionally when they dumped the nine-year-old government of Sir Michael Somare, as well as ending the political veteran's 43-year career in parliament. Parliament reacted to the Court decision by passing retrospective legislation legitimising its decision, citing Sir Michael's extended absence from April until early September 2011 for medical reasons. Sir Michael had been in Singapore for cardiac treatment. The move led to the establishment of rival governments which culminated two weeks ago in a failed mutiny at the behest of the Somare administration. The O'Neill government has been endeavouring since before the December ruling to have the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia removed but the Supreme Court has placed a stay on that move, though today's proceedings are likely to be presided over by his deputy, Gibbs Salika."