31 Jan 2005

PNG PM expected to reshuffle cabinet, amid NA ruminations

4:32 pm on 31 January 2005

Papua new Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare says he is assessing the performance of his ministers and is soon expected to reshuffle cabinet.

Sir Michael says there could be as many as five changes to cabinet.

But while he ruled out the possibility of the Peoples National Congress joining his Government, Sir Michael faces division in his own ruling National Alliance party.

Our correspondent in Port Moresby Peter Niesi reports:

"Sir Michael's got to be cautious about how he does the reshuffle because arising from the aborted Econet deal to buy Telikom PNG Ltd, that has caused a faction of National Alliance to be some distance, in a way, from the Somare direct influence within National Alliance. The issue really is that if as much as one quarter of those begin to shy away or close to half of them then there's the possibility of combining with other coalition partners together with the opposition numbers and that could result in some trap to overthrow the Somare government."

Peter Niesi