18 Apr 2007

Rival PNG parties link up ahead of poll

3:39 pm on 18 April 2007

The National Alliance-led government in Papua New Guinea has forged close links with the party of the opposition leader, Peter O'Neill, just weeks before the country goes to elections.

The national alliance party is headed by the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare.

Our correspondent in Port Moresby, Alex Rheeney, says the deal with Mr O'Neill's People's National Congress Party has raised eyebrows.

He says it could mean that there is no substantial opposition in the next parliament.

"If the National Alliance does get the numbers to form government there won't be any opposition under after the first parliamentary sitting, because at the moment he is the opposition leader, but we have already been getting indications that that deal was going to be struck because even the National Alliance has been holding its political fund raising events in one of Peter O'Neill's bars here in Port Moresby, so that was an indication that there was a deal somewhere."

Alex Rheeney