22 Dec 2004

PNG may see formation of grand coalition

4:28 pm on 22 December 2004

There is speculation in Papua New Guinea that the Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, may be about to form a grand coalition.

The Prime Minister has left several key positions vacant, including the Deputy Prime Ministership, with which to entice MPs into his coalition.

Our correspondent, Peter Niesi, says there are several parties lobbying hard for the consideration.

He says one of those expressing an interest in being brought back into the government is the opposition leader, Peter O'Neill.

Mr O'Neill, the leader of the People's National Congress, was dropped from the cabinet in May and joined the opposition.

Peter Niesi says Mr O'Neill has been re-establishing links with Sir Michael.

"We have had them saying that we are a family that formed the government together..for a session there we were in Opposition but now we are back together again and we should just continue to treat each other as family, so that gives you an indication of what's going on."