12 Dec 2002

Sir Mekere Morauta ousted as opposition leader

10:47 am on 12 December 2002

Papua New Guinea's Opposition leader, Sir Mekere Morauta has been dumped by his opposition colleagues while Parliament was giving the nod to the 2003 budget.

Seven opposition MPs moved that John Muingnepe the Bulolo MP replace Sir Mekere as the Opposition leader and that Mathew Siune MP for Kun-di-awa, take over from Mao Zemming as the Deputy Opposition Leader.

The country's Post Courier nespaper reports that many thought the move was orchestrated by the Western Highlands Governor, Paias Wingti who was seen exchanging notes with various opposition MPs.

The People's Democratic Movement, which was lead by Sir Mekere, has been plagued by differences following the elections and its subsequent failure to be in government.

Sir Mekere led PDM members to form the New National Development party, ousting Mr Wingti, who had founded the party.

Mr Wingti is reportedly planning to take back the PDM name once Sir Mekere's new party, now called the PNG Party, is legally recognised.