20 Jul 2007

Morauta and Philemon aim at taking PNG leadership

1:56 pm on 20 July 2007

A former Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, says he and a former Treasurer, Bart Philemon, hope to garner enough support from independent candidates to form the country's next government.

Counting in the PNG elections is continuing and Sir Mekere has just been declared the winner in the Northwest Moresby Open Seat - one of about a dozen seats of the 109 to be declared so far.

The National Alliance of Sir Michael Somare, which dominated the last coalition, is again expected to win more seats than any other party, but independents may be the single largest grouping.

Sir Mekere says his PNG Party and Mr Philemon's New Generation Party want to talk to them about forming an alternative grouping.

"It is really a matter of how many independents come in, because there are strong leads by independents in some electorates and we have to make sure that we have our share of independents otherwise we might lose the game."

Sir Mekere says they are also in serious discussion with other parties about forming a coalition.