Voting in the settlements: a 2012 election experience
O'Neill and Somare plan to form joint PNG government

Are O’Neill and Somare trying to isolate Namah?


Peter O'Neill and Michael SomareWITH THE NEWS THAT prime minister Peter O’Neill is in talks with his rival Sir Michael Somare over a possible coalition deal, is the new game in town ‘let’s isolate Belden?’ And will it work?

Not one of the 42 registered political parties in Papua New Guinea will go anywhere near commanding a majority in its own right.

O’Neill’s People’s National Congress is easily doing the best and can probably look forward to winning between one-quarter and one-third of the seats in the new parliament.

With volatile PNG Party leader Belden Namah announcing during the campaign that he’d take on O’Neill for the prime ministership, it seems unlikely he’d want his party to join any coalition put together by O’Neill.

Although stranger things have happened in PNG politics.

Instead, Namah will be working hard on persuading minor parties and independents to join cause with him. The rewards he’ll be offering will be munificent.

It seems O’Neill is also talking seriously to Don Polye, whose Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party is running second, former PM Sir Julius Chan (People’s Progress Party) as well as Somare (National Alliance) and other smaller parties.

The O’Neill-Somare alliance is especially intriguing as it’s only a few week ago that the Grand Chief said the Young Turk should face gaol for what the old man (and, it might be added, the Supreme Court) saw as O’Neill’s unconstitutional prime ministership.

On present indications, a coalition between O’Neill, Somare, Chan and Polye would go very close to gaining a parliamentary majority.

On seeing that this might be the likely outcome, a host of other minor parties and independents could be expected to join the O’Neill bandwagon.

This would leave Namah out in the cold as a rather frustrated and one would imagine embittered opposition leader.

But that’s just one permutation in a dynamic calculus that has many twists and turns left in it yet.

It’s become a cliché to refer to PNG as the “land of the unexpected”.

But time and again it manages to live up to this reputation.


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John Wali

I would think O'Neill will be better off teaming up with Polye, Duma and couple of other independents. Leave Somare out with Namah to fight it out in the Opposition.

After 40 years, Somare has nothing new to offer PNG other then political survival na bik nem tasol. Sick of this.

But then, O’Neill just might keep the Hawaiian king with him, in case he needs a personal trouble shooter and a scapegoat.

PNG truly is "the land of unexpected" .

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