23 May 2012

Somare faction in PNG puts focus on elections as turmoil continues

6:32 pm on 23 May 2012

The Sir Michael Somare group that was declared the legitimate government of Papua New Guinea on Monday is now focussing on the election campaign after being stopped from reassuming control of the country.

The Supreme Court ruled Sir Michael was illegally removed from office by the rival Peter O'Neill faction last August.

Mr O'Neill has called the ruling biased and illegal.

He has been unsuccessful so far in bringing parliament together to repudiate the ruling but is trying to hold the session again on Thursday.

Sir Arnold Amet, who is Sir Michael's attorney general, says with their attempts to be sworn in stalled by the O'Neill administration, their focus is the election.

"We understand the reality of the practical, physical position on the ground. They have blockaded Government House, precluded the Head of State from receiving him [ Sir Michael Somare] and unless Cabinet Ministers are sworn in, instruments are signed and gazetted I guess the practical reality is that Peter O'Neill can continue to purport to assert executive control, simply dictatorially."

Sir Arnold Amet.

The O'Neill government says it will arrest the three judges who reinstated Sir Michael Somare as prime minister, unless they resign.

Peter O'Neill's deputy, Belden Namah said at midday that the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and justices Les Gavera-Nanu and Nicholas Kirriwom had less than 16 hours to tender their resignations.

Mr Namah says the judges have compromised the judiciary at the very highest level and will be arrested for sedition.

The police commissioner adhering to the O'Neill faction has issued a statement, calling for commonsense to prevail.

Tom Kulunga says everyone involved and affected directly by the Supreme Court rulings must be more responsible and put national interests ahead of personal desires.