‘NA top job not vacant’

National, Normal

The National, Friday, May 13, 2011

THE National Alliance party yesterday said there is no vacancy in the political leadership of the party, brushing aside media reports that the party leadership was in crisis.
However, a party insider admitted to a dilemma facing the party to elect an interim political head while Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, who is NA party leader, was on medical leave.
Current highlands deputy leader is Don Polye. Sam Abal is deputy prime minister and, currently, the acting prime minister.
Polye was chosen by the highlands bloc while Abal was appointed by Sir Michael, and the highlands bloc insisted that, politically, Polye was the leader.
Party sources said it was a sensitive issue and the meeting, planned by NA to discuss the leadership, was thrown back to regional blocs to make a decision.
The National Alliance party would make a decision on the “interim political party leader who will be calling the shots, including meetings of the parliamentary wing”.
The four regional deputies are Patrick Pruaitch (Momase), Polye (highlands), Fidelis Semoso (New Guinea Islands) and Ano Pala (southern).
Pruaitch commanded a lot of respect from his fellow MPs and was tipped to take over.
Polye was also in the running and so was Abal.
The NA said the party constitution was clear that the leadership issue must be resolved at the national convention level but what the party wanted now was for an interim party leader in the absence of the prime minister and party leader.
A party insider said: “There is no truth in that Sir Michael may not return.
“We are not in crisis.
“The government has been taken care of in that we have an acting prime minister in place.”