31 Jul 2002

Sir Mekere Morauta's party confident it will form PNG's new government on Monday

7:02 pm on 31 July 2002

The president of Sir Mekere Morauta's People's Democratic Movement says he is confident that the party will form the new government when parliament gathers on Monday.

Thomas Negints says discussions and negotiations with a wide range of individuals and parties has indicated support for a PDM-led government with Sir Mekere at its head.

He says the Governor-General's invitation to National Alliance leader, Sir Michael Somare to form a new government is only a formality, and formalities have nothing to do with the way members will vote on Monday.

Mr Negints says the PDM and its allies will use a section of the Organic Law on political parties and candidates to have Sir Mekere elected as prime minister.

Section 76 of the law provides for the prime minister to be elected by the Parliament should the party invited to form a government fail to get the numbers.

Thomas Negints says the focus of debate during the formation of the government will be to continue Sir Mekere's programme of reconstruction and development.


The National Alliance Party, which is now cloistered with its coalition backers in Kokopo in East New Britain, is increasingly confident it will have the numbers.

The coalition could be a simple majority of the 94 declared MPs, but our correspondent in Kokopo, Peter Niesi, says even if it is based on the full 109 member parliament, the National Alliance is close to having the numbers.

"if the numbers are going to be 48 then basically the National Allaince has secured Parliament and all that needs to be done for them to sit in Parliament and select the Prime Minister and the Speaker, and the case of who's in government is a foregone conclusion...if it going to be 55 MPs which is traditionally the case, all they need is two MPs to secure that, so the formation of government favours the National Alliance and partners but given the fluidity of PNG politics we can't really settle donw until that is actually done in Parliament."

PNG'S Independent MPs says while they are open to negotiations with the country's two main political parties they will not commit fully to any of them.

The 16 independents and smaller parties are currently in Kimbe to discuss their option in the formation of a new government.

The governor of Milne Bay and independent MP spokesperson, Timothy Neville says they will not decide on who they align themselves yet until the 11th hour.

we are certainly not leaning in one particular direction at all..we are taking the middle road and we are waiting for the two parties to sort themselves out...there are a lot of numbers still movng around ...until they form into government or into a party we are not prepared to make a decision or make a move

Governor Timothy Neville.