O'Neill established as PNG's PM

PAPUA New Guinea’s political crisis appears to be over as Governor General Sir Michael Ogio recognises the coalition led by Peter O’Neill as the legitimate government, a reversal of his decision to swear in Sir Michael Somare’s cabinet last week.
O'Neill established as PNG's PM O'Neill established as PNG's PM O'Neill established as PNG's PM O'Neill established as PNG's PM O'Neill established as PNG's PM

Ogio was also reinstated as governor general by the O'Neill coalition, which dominates parliament and last week appointed speaker Jeffery Nape as acting governor general to navigate around Ogio's previous support of a Somare government.

"As representative of the Queen and head of state, I have reconsidered my earlier decision based on advice given [to] me and upon receipt of credible advice of late, I now recognise the O'Neill-Namah group as the legitimate government," Ogio wrote to Nape, according to The National yesterday.

Snaps of O'Neill, Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah and Ogio drinking champagne together have circulated around the various media outlets.

At a press conference, Somare responded to Ogio's backflip by saying PNG was in a "legal and constitutional nightmare", according to The National this morning.

"The O'Neill regime has shown PNG what it will do to remain in power," he reportedly said.

"The string of violations to the constitution and the use of their numbers on the floor of parliament are indicative of what their approach to governance will be in the future."

Somare had not shown up to parliament since the Supreme Court decided he was the lawful prime minister in a 3:2 decision a week ago.

With most of the country behind an O'Neill coalition government, there seem to be few options left for 75-year-old Somare.

The Somare camp also dwindled.

In an interview on ABC radio yesterday, Somare said he only had 14 of the 109 members of parliament behind him.

Yet Somare will reportedly take the O'Neill coalition government back to the courtroom, though the courts are closed for Christmas and will not reopen until February.

Under the legal avenues available, key members of the O'Neill coalition, including O'Neill, Nape and Namah, could face contempt proceedings over their actions prior to the Supreme Court case ruling on December 12.

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