Papua New Guinea lawmakers elect O'Neill prime minister

Papua New Guinea's Sir Michael Somare and Peter O'Neill (AP/AFP) Both Sir Michael Somare (L) and Peter O'Neill claim the top job in Papua New Guinea

Related Stories

Papua New Guinea's parliament has elected Peter O'Neill prime minister, amid a lengthy tussle for the top job.

The chief justice ruled last week that Sir Michael Somare was still the country's legitimate leader.

But the deputy speaker then said Mr Somare was disqualified from the post because he had missed three consecutive sessions of parliament.

Mr O'Neill was elected unopposed by lawmakers but his swearing-in was then suspended.

The acting governor-general suspended the ceremony, saying he had to "study the documents".

'Confusing'

PNG has been mired in political deadlock since last year, with two men claiming the role of prime minister.

Parliament first elected Mr O'Neill prime minister last year after declaring the post vacant while Mr Somare, the 76-year-old long-time leader, was out of the country receiving medical treatment.

But the Supreme Court said the move was illegal - a decision it restated last week. Since then the chief justice has been charged with sedition and a group of police briefly blockaded parliament.

Mr O'Neill, who is effectively running the country, was elected unopposed on Tuesday after the prime minister post was again declared vacant. Mr Somare was not in Port Moresby for the vote, ABC News reported.

But acting Governor-General Jeffery Nape put the swearing-in ceremony on hold. "The swearing in is suspended," he said.

General elections are due to be held in the country in June.

Both Australia and the Commonwealth have called for restraint in Papua New Guinea amid the leadership tensions.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr called the recent turn of events "confusing".

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Asia stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Man holding lipWitch hunt

    The country where a writer accused of blasphemy must run


  • Espresso cupNews quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?


  • Lauren Arrington holding up a fishSomething's fishy

    Scientist claims 'child prodigy' getting credit for his discovery


  • A woman's stomach with the words "I love IDF"'War porn'?

    Support - and disdain - for women posting sexy selfies for the IDF


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • CastleRoyal real estate

    No longer reserved for kings and queens, some find living in a castle simply divine

Programmes

  • Leader of Hamas Khaled MeshaalHARDtalk Watch

    BBC exclusive: Hamas leader on the eagerness to end bloodshed in Gaza

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.