13 Nov 2003

PNG prime minister reshuffles cabinet ahead of vote on constitutional changes

11:36 am on 13 November 2003

Papua New Guinea's deputy prime minister is one of two ministers sacked from cabinet in a ministerial reshuffle.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare stood down his deputy Allan Marat after he was dumped as leader of a coalition party.

Labour Minister Peter Yama, also lost his ministry.

Sir Micheal says the changes were aimed at strengthening the coalition as the government attempts to muster the numbers for an historic parliamentary vote.

Parliament is considering ambitious constitutional changes which would better protect the government from PNG's frequent no-confidence votes.

The new deputy prime minister is former fisheries minister Andrew Baing, while Paul Tiensten has taken over the trade portfolio, held previously by Mr Yama.

The new minister of labour is Tom Tomiape.