3 Aug 2012

PNG parliament to sit to elect speaker and Prime Minister

11:42 am on 3 August 2012

Papua New Guinea's parliament is scheduled to sit today to elect a Prime Minister despite vote counting for the general election yet to be completed.

An application to the national court by Belden Namah's PNG Party to have parliament prevented from sitting until counting is complete was rejected this morning.

The first order of business is for parliament to elect a new speaker, then it is expected to vote Peter O'Neill in as Prime Minister.

After his People's National Congress emerged from the general election as the party with the most MPs in the 111-seat parliament, Mr O'Neill was invited by the Governor General to form the next government.

Mr O'Neill appears to have the support of various political parties to lead a coalition government, including the National Alliance party of his former political adversary Sir Michael Somare.

However newly-elected members of three regional seats - National Capital District, Simbu and Eastern Highlands - will not be present as the deadline for return of writs in these seats was extended until next Wednesday.