27 Jul 2007

Three rival political groups in PNG vying to form governing coalitions

1:52 pm on 27 July 2007

The battle to form a coalition government in Papua New Guinea is intensifying with a third possible grouping entering the picture.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare's National Alliance has been flying MPs into Wewak in East Sepik, while a former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta and former Treasurer Bart Philemon are endeavouring to bring together 13 parties in a camp they have established in Lae.

Meanwhile our Port Moresby correspondent Alex Rheeney, says another former prime minister, Sir Julius Chan, returning to Parliament after a ten year absence, is looking for backing.

"He flew into Moresby yesterday and he's announced that he's open to negotiations with any independent members and parties interested in joining him so that will make it a third coalition and group that is now trying to build up support."

Meanwhile the newly elected governor of the National Capital District, human rights lawyer, Powes Parkop, has placed advertisements calling for independents to form a block of their own.

59 seats have so far been declared, with several more due later today.