8 Aug 2012

PNG PM names Dion as his deputy

6:46 pm on 8 August 2012

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has announced his deputy as more details emerged of the new cabinet line-up.

The Deputy Prime Minister will be Leo Dion, the Governor of East New Britain Province.

Mr Dion is a senior member of Don Polye's Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party, the party which returned 12 elected MPs - the second highest of any party after Peter O'Neill's People's National Congress' 27.

Mr O'Neill has already signalled that Mr Polye will hold the Treasury and Finance portoflio.

Our correspondent Oseah Philemon says Mr Dion's appointment is probably related to regionalism.

He says while many thought that Don Polye would be offered the Deputy Prime Ministership, that would have meant two Highlands MPs in the top two positions which could be poorly received in other regions.

"So Peter O'Neill had to really trade it off. If he gave the portfolio of Treausyr and Finance to Don Polye, that is a very senior ministry and he couldn;t also give him the Deputy Prime Ministerhip. He (O'Neill) has got more than ninety members in his camp and he's got to please everybody. So I think the best trade off was to give a very senior position, like Deputy Prime Minister, to the people of the islands region."

Meanwhile, Loujaya Toni, one of the three women MPs, has reportedly been sworn in as a minister at Government House.

Powes Parkop has been declared the winner of the National Capital District in the last election result.

Mr Parkop retains the seat he first won at the 2007 election, giving his Social Democratic Party a third MP.