17 Jul 2002

Independents the likely key in the formation of PNG coalition

4:39 pm on 17 July 2002

Our correspondent in Papua New Guinea suggests that the independent MPs elected to the new Parliament could be the key factor in what coalition forms the new government.

The National Alliance of Sir Michael Somare is on target to win the greatest number of seats, and says it is confident of forming the coalition.

The NA, if it does win the highest number of seats, will be invited by the Governor General to see if it can form a government.

Our correspondent, Peter Nieisi, says there is an expectation that the new Integrity Law will encourage other parties, and independents, to gravitate towards the party invited to form the government.

"But at the sametime, there has been some strong calls been made particularly by independent candidates to stick together to form a balance of power as it were, and currently, they've got nine MP's in and depending on how cohesively they stick together, that could be the determining factor."

Peter Niesi in Port Moresby.