Somare confirms political exit

GRAND Chief Sir Michael Somare appears more likely to end his 44-year political career after the election results in July.
Somare confirms political exit Somare confirms political exit Somare confirms political exit Somare confirms political exit Somare confirms political exit

Of course it is hard to rule anything out in PNG's notoriously complex political scene but Somare has signalled his looming exit from politics at a National Alliance party corporate dinner on Saturday.

Despite the ongoing constitutional crisis gripping the courts, Somare clearly believed the December 12 Supreme Court decision that Peter O'Neill was not the legitimate prime minister was proof legal safeguards were still in place.

"As I step off the political stage, I am proud to leave the legacy of my final battle - our constitution is intact and the rule of law will prevail," Somare said in a speech on his political career.

Somare had three separate reigns as PM with the last running from 2002 up until August last year. This reign ended when he was ousted by O'Neill and his coalition while Somare was on extended medical leave.

"The events of the last nine months have been a reality check for us all," Somare said.

"Nine years of leadership is a long time and many of us perhaps grew complacent while others forgot what it was like before National Alliance took office.

"Fortunately for us, the present mob has opened the eyes of many in Papua New Guinea, the region and the world.

"Many people wanted change but as the saying goes, we have to be careful what you wish for."

Somare will campaign for NA candidates during the election and says a new chapter in his life will begin after July.

"I believe a new political era will also begin for PNG in July," he said.

"We have seen over the last nine months what we do not want to happen in PNG.

"We don't want a parliament full of liars; we don't want gross abuse of powers; we don't want unnecessary deficits because we have gone on a spending spree in an election year.

"Incidentally, the NA-led government is the only government in 37 years that did not record a deficit in an election year - that was in 2007."

Despite the Supreme Court's findings late last year, O'Neill remains the effective PM of PNG and the coalition behind him dominates Parliament.

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