Chan nominee for PNG prime ministership

Updated at 3:53 pm on 2 August 2007

A former Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Julius Chan, has been put up as a nominee for the nation's top post by a rival political camp trying to oust Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare.

Sir Julius is making a return to politics after a 10-year absence, winning the New Ireland regional seat in last month's elections.

He was forced to step down as prime minister in 1997 following his aborted attempt to use mercenaries to quash secessionist rebels in Bougainville.

Sir Julius has been backed for the prime ministership by the PNG Party leader and former prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta and the New Generation Party leader and former treasurer, Bart Philemon.

Sir Mekere and Mr Philemon teamed up in the elections to try to oust Sir Michael, who they accuse of overseeing inefficient and corrupt government.

But their parties and Sir Julius's People's Progress Party have only a combined total of 16 seats against Sir Michael's National Alliance which won 26 seats in the 109-member parliament.

Only three seats have yet to be declared.

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