Ex-pollie wants PM back in chair

National, Normal

The National – Monday, January 3, 2011

 PRESSURE is mounting from groups within the National Alliance party circles for the return of Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to lead government.

Sir Michael, who voluntarily stepped aside as prime minister to challenge his referral by the Ombudsman Commission to the public prosecutor, may have been wrongly advised, legal sources said.

There had been pressure from within government also for Sir Michael to return as prime minister, and he has been in regular consultation with his government, which included a lunch-hour meeting with acting Prime Minister Sam Abal yesterday.

However, the prime minister’s office said yesterday that Sir Michael was still on holiday.

“He has been getting a lot of calls to resume as prime minister and we will release a statement if he decides to return,” an officer said.

Former Southern Highlands governor Hami Yawari had taken cue, saying Papua New Guinea was faced with a constitutional crisis and urged Sir Michael to immediately resume duties to steer the ship.

“The prime minister has not been suspended. 

“The chief justice is yet to appoint a leadership tribunal. Once the CJ appoints the tribunal, then the prime minister is automatically suspended,” Yawari said yesterday.

“Today, I want to call on Sir Michael to resume duties. Our big LNG project is under serious threat by landowners.

“The LNG is your project and we want you to take charge and clear the path for the project to be realised.” 

Yawari said the country would be thrown into crisis, citing the example of frustrated landowners who left Port Moresby last week to return home after failing to get their seed and MoA payments.

“These frustrated landowners may pose a problem for the government and we are demanding Sir Michael to resume duties to navigate these issues.”