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Crushing O'Neill Win as PM Augurs Well for Stability in PNG

Crushing O'Neill Win as PM Augurs Well for Stability in PNG

By Malum Nalu and AFP | Port Moresby
August 6, 2012

Caretaker Peter O'Neill has been elected as prime minister of Papua New Guinea by an overwhelming majority, ending a prolonged standoff between national leaders leading into last month's general election.

O'Neill collected 94 votes with only 12 against on the floor of Parlament.

Earlier, Finschhafen MP Theodore Zurenuoc was elected Speaker.

O'Neill was sworn in as prime minister by Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio.

O'Neill's crushing vote handed him the overwhelming support of the MPs, his media spokesman Daniel Korimbao said from the capital Port Moresby.

“The vote just happened,” Korimbao said.

O'Neill's People's National Congress (PNC) won more seats than any other party in the polls which began on June 23 and he was able to swell his support by forming partnerships with smaller parties.

The development draws an end to a bizarre period in PNG politics which began when the Supreme Court ruled in December that O'Neill's election as prime minister by fellow MPs in August 2011 was illegal.

The court called for former premier Sir Michael Somare to be reinstated.

The decision triggered a crisis which, at its height, saw the nation with two prime ministers, two governors-general and two police chiefs.

Somare, 76, last month accepted the defeat of his party in the national elections and agreed to support O'Neill's bid to form the next government.


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