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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 12) – Papua New Guinea political leaders are closing ranks as they prepare for the 2004 Parliament sitting which begins tomorrow. 

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare flew to his home town of Wewak yesterday with the Deputy Prime Minister and People’s Action Party Leader Moses Maladina and the Leader of the Peoples National Congress and Public Service Minister Peter O’Neill.

They were accompanied by Public Enterprises and Information Minister Arthur Somare and Forest Minister Patrick Pruaitch aboard the Government executive aircraft the Kumul.

They return to Port Moresby today. Government insiders said the leaders want to renew their commitment to the coalition Government and ensure their parties are intact.

With so many rumors around, the leaders want to ensure their numbers are intact, one insider said at the airport yesterday.

There are other issues (not mentioned) Sir Michael wanted to discuss personally with Mr Maladina and Mr O’Neill prior to the start of the Parliament session, the source said. Sir Michael returned from holidays on Friday morning.

He spent Saturday attending the wedding of the daughter of the Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea before getting back into his political routine for what is likely to be a tough session of Parliament.

Sir Michael wants to re-introduce the Constitutional Amendment to increase the grace period for a no-confidence vote in the Prime Minister from 18 months to 36 months.

He needs 73 votes to pass it, if not he will most certainly face a no-confidence vote in February.

Coalition leaders are hard at working ensuring all ground is covered to ensure the Government remains in power.

Sir Michael is nearing the end of his political career and his supporters want to see him complete this term of Parliament at the helm and then bow out of politics as the nation prepares to go to the polls in 2007.

He first entered politics in 1968.  

January 12, 2004

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