7 May 2012

Somare drops out of PNG electoral race after 44 years as East Sepik MP

1:06 pm on 7 May 2012

Papua New Guinea's former prime minister Sir Michael Somare is not standing for re-election in the June poll.

This follows a report on Saturday that Sir Michael would contest the election for the East Sepik electorate, but stand down mid-term.

His spokesperson and daughter Betha Somare says her 76-year-old father will campaign on behalf of his National Alliance party.

Sir Michael cited his government's record of economic growth, saying it was a reason the 79 National Alliance candidates should be elected in the next polls.

He also said the government of Peter O'Neill had acted unacceptably by legislating in December last year to dump him from his seat of East Sepik, which he had held for 44 years.

Sir Michael says PNG doesn't want a parliament full of liars, no gross abuse of powers and unnecessary deficits.

Sir Michael was PNG's first prime minister, serving from independence in 1975 until 1980, and again from 1982 to 1985.

In 2002, he retook the top job a third time and was PNG's longest-serving PM until he was suspended for two weeks in early March 2011 after being found guilty of personal financial misconduct.