4 Jun 2007

Philemon takes PNG election campaign to Bougainville

5:56 pm on 4 June 2007

As campaigning in Papua New Guinea enters its final month before the election, the sacked treasurer, Bart Philemon, has called on the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, to take a good long rest.

Speaking in Bougainville, Mr Philemon claimed that Sir Michael's time in politics is over, saying PNG needed a new generation of leaders after 32 years of broken government promises since independence in 1975.

Mr Philemon formed the New Generation Party after Sir Michael had sacked him as treasurer in July last year following a leadership challenge.

Mr Philemon says leaders were constantly failing because of temptations to benefit from corruption in government.

He has been widely praised for orchestrating an economic turnaround in PNG and bringing government finances under tighter control while he was treasurer.

Sir Michael has been prime minister twice before and is now the first to lead a government for a full five-year term.