Sir Michael Somare announces retirement from PNG politics

6:44 pm on 11 March 2016

Papua New Guinea's first prime minister, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, has announced he is retiring from politics.

Sir Michael Somare

Sir Michael Somare Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Sir Michael, who turns 80 next month, told the newspaper, The National, he will not contest next year's elections.

The MP for East Sepik says he has completed his task and it is time for a new generation to carry on.

Sir Michael was the country's first prime minister from 1975 until 1980, then again from 1982 to 1985, and from 2002 to 2011.

He had been the long-time leader of the former ruling party, the National Alliance, but passed the reins on to PNG's current Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch in this parliamentary term.