25 Jul 2007

PNG prime minister confident of retaining power

1:40 pm on 25 July 2007

Papua New Guinea's prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, believes his National Alliance party may win as many as 25 seats in the 109 seat Parliament.

Nearly half of the seats have been declared with the NA winning 11 so far, which means they are almost assured of being first choice to try and form a government.

Sir Michael says the NA has done well because it was organised.

He says it is already attracting support from the independents being elected.

"Where the strength is, people go with the strength and it's quite obvious now. I've just had 2 or 3 calls coming in to say that look, you know, yes, we're independent but we'll be supporting you when we're elected."

Sir Michael has a substantial lead in his East Sepik provincial seat but a declaration is not expected until Friday.

Another significant result is the return to parliament of former prime minister, Sir Julius Chan, who defeated Ian Ling-Stuckey for the governorship of New Ireland.