7 Aug 2007

13 independent MPs in PNG sign up with National Alliance

10:10 am on 7 August 2007

At least 13 independents MPs in Papua New Guinea have signed up with the Sir Michael Somare led National Alliance, which is on course to successfully form a government coalition when Parliament meets for the first time next Monday.

Sir Michael was formally invited yesterday by the Governor General Sir Paulias Matane to try and form a government.

The independents have boosted the National Alliance's MPs to 40 of the 109 while another 20 from seven coalition parties have also committed.

The parties, all of which were in the previous government with the NA, have been offered ministries if they have three or more MPs.

But our correspondent in PNG, Alex Rheeney, says many of the independents have more immediate concerns.

"From what I gather independents will not be getting any ministries, but I think they have asked the National Alliance to pay off their bills which they incurred during the election, so that is one of the understandings that they hope to reach with National Alliance. ."