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Supreme Court backs Somare but O’Neill defiantly prepares for PNG elections


Pacific Media Centre’s Henry Yamo talks to Selwyn Manning on Triangle TV’s Beatson Interview. Video: 36th Parallel

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By PMC news desk [1] and 36th Parallel [2]

Peter O’Neill and his supporters have defiantly declared their caretaker government in charge in the lead-up to next month’s Papua New Guinean general election despite his administration being declared illegal by the Supreme Court.

The ruling yesterday, reaffirming the court’s December judgment that reinstated Sir Michael Somare as the country’s legitimate Prime Minister, has cast a new cloud over the country’s political deadlock.

While the Somare group’s bid to be sworn in as caretaker government [3] at Government House has so far been unsuccessful, Peter O’Neill’s group has unsuccessfully sought a special sitting of Parliament.

Sir Michael has been trying to form his administration to see the country through to the June election.

The Governor-General has signed the writs ordering a new election and politicians are preparing for a new mandate.

If recent history is any guide there could be more turmoil ahead in a campaign that will see more than 4000 candidates running for office.

Over the past year, Papua New Guinea has experienced a mutiny in its army, a purge in its police force, and division within its judiciary.

Rival governments
For some months it has also two rival governments claiming power to run the country.

So what has been fuelling the fires, and what are the prospects for peace after the election?

For some insight on those questions, Selwyn Manning has been talking to Henry Yamo – a journalist from Papua New Guinea, currently an associate with the Pacific Media Centre at AUT University, Auckland, where he is completing a Master in Communication Studies degree.

This interview was made possible by Triangle TV (Auckland) and New Zealand On Air.

Henry Yamo on 36th Parallel [4]