FORMER Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Michael Somare is out of hospital and could return home soon, his son says.
Arthur Somare said his 75-year-old father had left Raffles Hospital in Singapore, but was staying “nearby” as he continues to recuperate from a series of heart operations.
“I was with him in Singapore on Friday,” Somare said. “He’s in good health and he’ll be in Singapore a little while longer, quite simply to ensure he’s in close proximity to the hospital.
“But I expect within a short period of time he will be back in PNG.”
Somare said he visited Singapore to ensure his father was served with court papers regarding the ongoing legal dispute over the legitimacy of PNG’s new prime minister, Peter O’Neill.
O’Neill was elected to office on August 2, after parliament voted 70 to 24 to declare the position of prime minister vacant.
O’Neill was sworn in just hours after the vote, while his government was sworn in within days.
Somare said he had not discussed in detail the political situation in PNG with his father while he recovers from the trauma of having three heart operations since April.
He said he made sure his father was served with the court papers so there was no delay in court case against O’Neill.
Somare said, however, he advised his father not to participate in this early stage of the case.
Earlier this month, Sir Michael’s appointee for acting prime minister, Sam Abal, mounted an unsuccessful injunction in the national court aimed at stopping O’Neill and his ministers from conducting any official business.
Meanwhile, officials from Sir Michael’s home turf in East Sepik have also mounted a constitutional challenge into whether the prime ministership should have legally been declared vacant.
That case is ongoing.