27 Jul 2012

PNG O'Neill denies rekindling Namah ties

1:32 pm on 27 July 2012

Papua New Guinea's caretaker prime minister, Peter O'Neill, says he has not issued an invitation for his outgoing deputy, Belden Namah, to join his budding coalition government.

Mr O'Neill has declared he will be the new prime minister, claiming he has the backing of several smaller parties, including Sir Michael Somare's National Alliance.

It had been reported earlier this week that he was also seeking the support of Mr Namah but the newspaper, The National, quotes Mr O'Neill as saying the former deputy has made his political bed and he and his followers can sleep in that bed.

He says Mr Namah had burnt the bridges he could have walked back on.

Mr O'Neill also says he owes it to his new coalition to fully consult it and to get its unanimous agreement before any invitation is made.