PNG's Somare rules out re-election bid

Peter O'Neill, left, replaced Sir Michael Somare as prime minister in August. [AAP]

Peter O'Neill, left, replaced Sir Michael Somare as prime minister in August. [AAP]

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Sir Michael Somare says he's out of PNG's upcoming elections

Created: 07/05/2012

Liam Fox, Port Moresby

Last Updated: Mon, 7 May 2012 19:00:00 +1000

Papua New Guinea's former prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has confirmed he will not stand in the next election.

Sir Michael has long said he would not be contesting the upcoming general election.

However after Peter O'Neill replaced him as prime minister last August following a mass defection of government MPs, Sir Michael said he was reconsidering his retirement plan.

But during a fundraiser for his National Alliance Party over the weekend, the 76-year-old confirmed he will not be running.

He told the crowd he has had a long and good life with 44 years dedicated to politics, and a new chapter is beginning.

While Sir Michael will not be running himself, he said he will be campaigning strongly for his party and its candidates.

Sir Michael's East Sepik seat was declared vacant while he received medical treatment in Singapore last year.

The Supreme Court subsequently declared him the rightful leader, plunging the country into turmoil before Mr O'Neill eventually resumed the role after governor-general Michael Ogio backtracked on Sir Michael's appointment.

Mr O'Neill has remained the effective prime minister with the support of the public service, police, defence force and most MPs despite attempts by Sir Michael, including a botched coup, to return to power.


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