24 Jul 2012

PNG's O'Neill confident of forming government

2:35 pm on 24 July 2012

Papua New Guinea's incumbent prime minister Peter O'Neill says he is confident he will form the next government even as his relationship with his erstwhile deputy Belden Namah disintegrates.

Counting after the election is continuing and 66 of the 111 parliamentary seats have so far been declared.

Mr O'Neill says he expects his People's National Congress party will have the first shot at forming a government in the coming weeks, after so far winning 17 seats.

The PNC is leading in another 14 seats.

Mr O'Neill has indicated a working relationship with his former deputy, with whom he formed an unstable alliance last August, was not high on his agenda.

Mr Namah's PNG Party has so far won six seats.

Counting expected to finish this week.