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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 30, 2001 – Radio Australia)--For the first time since independence a Papua New Guinea political party has gained a parliamentary majority.

Radio Australia correspondent Richard Dinnen reports that the People's Democratic Movement and Advance PNG have merged vowing to contest next year's election together.

"The combined group has 63 seats. That is a working majority in the current Parliament and it's the first time a single party has achieved such power.

"But the party is now made up of diverse political elements. Holding them together until next July's election will be a major challenge. And other groups will work to destroy the new PDM, including most of the Highlands provincial governors and the newly formed Peoples Labour party led by a Madang businessman.

"Richard Dinnen, Radio Australia, Port Moresby."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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