Somare not contesting PNG election

08-May-2012 Intellasia | SMH.com | 7:05 AM Print This Post

Papua New Guinea’s former prime minister Sir Michael Somare is not standing for re-election at the June poll.

However, the 76-year-old will campaign on behalf of his National Alliance (NA) party.

“He is not contesting the election,” his spokeswoman and daughter Betha Somare told AAP on Monday.

“He is just taking his party to the election. He is going to campaign for his people.

PNG'S former prime minister Sir Michael Somare says he will not stand for re-election in 2012.

“He is going to support his candidates throughout the country.”

On Saturday AAP reported Ms Somare as saying Sir Michael would contest the election for the East Sepik electorate, and would stand down mid-term.

Ms Somare said she misheard AAP’s query during an NA campaign fundraiser to clarify Sir Michael’s reference to campaigning in his keynote speech.

There had been intense speculation leading up to the event that he would step down.

Sir Michael cited his government’s record of economic growth, saying it was a reason the 79 National Alliance candidates should be elected when PNG voters head to the polls in late June.

He also said the government of Peter O’Neill had acted unacceptably by legislating in December last year to dump him from his seat of East Sepik.

Sir Michael has held the seat for 44 years.

“After July a new chapter in my life will begin,” he said.

“I believe a new political era will also begin for PNG in July. We have seen over the last nine months what we do not want to happen in PNG.

“We don’t want a parliament full of liars, we don’t want gross abuse of powers, we don’t want unnecessary deficits because we have gone on a spending spree in an election year,” he said, referring to controversial laws, such as the Judicial Conduct Act, passed by the O’Neill government.

Sir Michael was PNG’s first prime minister, serving from independence in 1975 until 1980, and again from 1982 to 1985.

In 2002 he retook the top job a third time and was PNG’s longest-serving PM until he was suspended for two weeks in early March 2011 after being found guilty of personal financial misconduct.

In April 2011 he flew to Singapore for heart surgery and was not heard from for almost five months.

In his absence, his political enemies sharpened their knives and on August 2 parliament voted to dump him as PM.

The Supreme Court on December 12 last year ruled that move unconstitutional, a decision that sparked a rolling crisis culminating in a failed coup by Somare supporters in January.

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/somare-not-contesting-png-election-20120507-1y7si.html

 


Category: Regional

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