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SOMARE’S SON: ‘GRAND CHIEF’ SHOULD RETIRE But Arthur says dad shouldn’t have been ‘pushed out’

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 1, 2011) – Sir Michael Somare is on his way home to Papua New Guinea from medical treatment in Singapore to try to reclaim the prime ministership despite the protestations of his family.

Sir Michael, 75, has been overseas for four months recovering from heart surgery.

While his son, member of parliament Arthur Somare, wants his father to return to Papua New Guinea, he told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat it is time for Sir Michael to retire.

"We wanted him to retire, that's absolutely correct," he said. "But that does not give anyone the authority to push him out or to retire him. Essentially he has to resign from office and I still want that to happen because of his health condition and because of his age as well."

In the time Sir Michael has been overseas, the position of prime minister was declared vacant and former Finance Minister Peter O'Neill was promoted to the top job.

But Sir Michael said he still believed he is Papua New Guinea's leader.

The Supreme Court is expected to hand down its verdict later this month on whether Mr O'Neill's appointment was constitutional.

Mr Somare said he has concerns over the validity of Mr O'Neill's appointment.

"I have sufficient doubts in my mind that the government was constitutionally formed, that it is legitimate," he said.

Sir Michael was forced to return to Papua New Guinea to avoid his seat in parliament also being declared vacant.

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