Somare To Campaign For Party, Will Not Contest Election

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Former PM wants to see ‘Constitution restored’ before bowing out

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 3, 2012) – Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare will lead the National Alliance party into the general election next month and will step out of politics "once the Constitution is restored".

"Many of you are thinking, what’s this old man, this damn old man, going to do next," Sir Michael said.

"I will campaign strongly for the National Alliance to form a new government for PNG."

Sir Michael said at his party’s corporate fundraiser at Vision City in Port Moresby on Saturday the National Alliance would continue its record of tight fiscal management and investment confidence if it returned to government.

It would also repeal all controversial legislations recently passed.

The party’s coalition partners were represented at the occasion with Pangu Pati leader and Nuku MP Andrew Kumbakor and People’s United Assembly Party leader and Southern Highlands Governor, Anderson Agiru, attending.

"We want legislation that benefits the masses and not retrospective and vindictive," Sir Michael said.

He said in the 37 years of country’s history no government had recorded such an immense economic growth as the National Alliance-led government.

"We, as a government, provided stability and certainty both in the public and private sector.

"Fortunately for us, the present mob has opened the eyes of many Papua New Guineans, the region and world.

"Many people wanted change but as the saying goes, we have to be careful what we wish for."

[PIR editor’s note: Radio New Zealand International clarified that while Somare will lead his party into the election he will not personally be standing for a seat in parliament. This effectively ends his 44-year career in PNG politics.]

Sir Michael said the National Alliance was focused at strengthening economic management, underpinned by responsible policy designed at fairly and truly distributing benefits derived from the resources in the country.

He said they would want to improve the district support improvement programme so that money "can continue to reach the rural population".

Last Friday, the party announced it had endorsed 79 candidates for the general election next month.

Its list included two women, Margaret Loko for the National Capital District regional seat, and Roselyn Akua for West New Britain regional seat.

Deputy leaders included Aitape-Lumi MP Patrick Pruaitch (Momase) and Mul-Baiyer MP Sani Rambi (Highlands) promised to stand behind the party into the election.

Angoram MP Arthur Somare told the candidates that even though current MPs in the O’Neill-Namah regime were returned after the election, most have multiple contempt cases to answer to.

"We will pursue it right to the end. While people can win elections, they will be busy in court defending their contempt charges."

Sir Michael promised that a NA-led government would restore the country’s constitution to its rightful place.

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