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SOMARE’S NATIONAL PARTY TO ELECT LEADER IN AUGUST Current leader Sam Abal under pressure to step aside

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 30, 2011) – Papua New Guinea’s National Alliance party will meet in August to elect a new leader, following the retirement from politics of Sir Michael Somare.

Sir Michael, who remains in intensive care in hospital in Singapore, has been retired from the prime ministerial post by his family.

Correspondent Oseah Philemon says that puts his deputy, the acting Prime Minister Sam Abal, under immense pressure.

"Both within his party, the National Alliance Party, and also in Parliament. The opposition continues to put pressure on him. There’s continuing debate in his own party about whether he should continue as leader, or someone else should be elected as leader of the party. The party will be meeting shortly, the have a conference coming up in the Highlands, where they will elect a new leader. That person will be their nominee for Prime Minister."

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