23 Jul 2007

PNG's National Alliance now has seven seats, expects another 13

1:37 pm on 23 July 2007

There is an increasing likelihood that Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare's National Alliance, or NA, will retain power with 27 of the 109 seats in the national elections declared.

While no party will come close to a majority the one with the most seats is invited first by the governor general to try and form a government.

The NA has seven seats so far, including those of high profile cabinet ministers, Patrick Pruaitch and Paul Tiensten, and it is well placed to win significantly more, as our correspondent in Port Moresby, Alex Rheeney, explains.

"Sir Michael said at the weekend that he expects to get at least 20 seats, so he is looking to get around 13 more declarations - and it is looking that way. Of the other seats out of the remaining 109 seats, there are a large number of NA candidates who are leading at the moment."

Other recent declarations include Dame Carol Kidu, the present Community Services Ministers and Bart Philemon, who was treasurer until dumped by Sir Michael during the past term.