3 Aug 2012

Peter O'Neill elected as PNG Prime Minister

6:54 pm on 3 August 2012

Peter O'Neill has been elected as Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister by newly-elected MPs.

PNG's ninth parliament convened today despite results in three of the 111 electorates yet to be declared as vote counting continues for the general election.

Mr O'Neill was voted in by 94 MPs.

Mr O'Neill's People's National Congress won the most seats of any party in the general election and has formed a coalition government with several other political parties.

Earlier, MPs elected a new speaker, Theodore Zurenuoc.

Mr Zurenuoc is from the People's Progress Party of a former Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan which is part of Mr O'Neill's coalition.

Mr Zurenuoc received votes from 88 MPs while the only other candidate, Francis Marus of the PNG Party, received 17.

The PNG Party's Belden Namah is expected to be the opposition leader.

Mr O'Neill's election comes year and a day after he was controversially voted in by MPs to replace the veteran Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare in a parliamentary move subsequently ruled illegal by the Supreme Court.

Despite the two having been locked in a dispute over the Prime Ministership for most of the past year, Sir Michael has announced his support for a government led by Mr O'Neill.