Tuesday, June 28, 2011

[pima.nius] Sir Michael Somare retires from politics

12:19 PM |

Sir Michael Somare retires from politics

Updated June 28, 2011 17:05:53

Papau New Guinea's Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare is to leave politics and step down as Prime Minister, effective immediately due to ill health.

The 75 year old is retiring after almost 50 years in active political life.

Sir Michael has undergone two corrective operations following major heart surgery in April at the Raffles International Hospital in Singapore.

His son, PNG's Minister of State Enterprises Arthur Somare says the decision for Sir Michael to retire was taken collectively by his family.

It's not known when parliament will meet to choose his successor.

Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Port Moresby reporter, Firmin Nanol

NANOL: Arthur Somare just told a press conference and he's talking to the media. He just announced that the family, Arthur Somare's family wished to say that Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has retired and he's retiring from politics after 50 years in active politics, so yes he has announced his retirement from politics.

HILL: So that takes effect immediately?

NANOL: That takes effect immediately, but Arthur went on to mention that his condition is very uncertain, he cannot talk or communicate with him or the family, so this announcement is the wish of the family for Sir Michael Somare to recover in his own time, and these measures cannot be communicated to him, it's very uncertain, he's in a situation where he cannot talk or understand. So that's the wish of the family, they're making a public declaration that Sir Michael retire and that he recover at this own pace.

HILL: Did Arthur Somare go into any more details about his father's condition of health, chances of recovery, that sort of thing?

NANOL: He said that last he was going to come out of the intensive care unit at the Raffles hospital in Singapore. But now he is still at the ICU, he cannot say when he's going to come out, he said his condition is at the moment he cannot talk or understand, it is very uncertain, and he does not know how long it will take for him to recover after heart surgery, and then he went into two corrective surgeries and for a 75 year old man it will take some long time. And even the doctors were not able to say how long he will take to recover.

HILL: What's the effect of Sir Michael Somare, the Prime Minister, being in hospital in this condition for so long? What impact has that had on the running of Papua New Guinea? Has the country been able to be administered properly while he's been out of action?

NANOL: Yes well when he was in hospital and after he was suspended from leadership � for 14 days, he appointed Sam Abal, his deputy, and when his condition worsened he also appointed him as the acting Prime Minister, and the country's running well under him. Sam Abal's been making some cabinet reshuffles. But with his retirement now there are political and legal implications with his retiring as the party leader of the ruling National Alliance Party, and under the constitution when the PM retires parliament needs to convene and elect a new prime minister. So his announcement definitely will spark both political and legal implications in the country.

HILL: So parliament will elect a new prime minister, is that right? There won't be fresh elections or anything, it'll be done by the members of parliament?

NANOL: Definitely by the members of parliament, but it will follow the processes, parliament has been adjourned to August this year, and Arthur Somare said when we � he will not be talking about the political leadership of the party or the PM's question, let the processes in place, let the acting prime minister and the legal processes and administrative processes in place and they will take care of that. All their concerns is about their father and his health and at this point in time he cannot be � to be active and they're not sure whether he's going to recoup well and come back. So they are leaving that to the hands of the normal legal political and administrative processes in the country to replace the parliamentary party leadership of the National Alliance Party, and if need be for the election of a new prime minister.

HILL: Firmin it's a journalistic clich� but with Sir Michael Somare now stepping down, it is very much the end of an era isn't it, he led the country to independence in 1975?

NANOL: It's been a legacy. It's been a political history in this country. He has been the longest serving politician in any Commonwealth country, most of that time for 15 or 20 years he has been the prime minister. And he has never fallen down from political opponents. Only the illness that got him down and he has retired. But yes, Bruce you're right, many people think of him as the father of the nation, the man who led the country through the good and bad times since independence, and has left it in the hands of one of his lieutenants in Sam Abal, and others that he has groomed. So surely yes, it has been a landmark achievement for the Somare family and Sir Michael himself as a politician that he has been in this office for more than 40 years.


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pacific islands media association
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aotearoa, new zealand
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pacific islands media association
pima.nius@gmail.com
aotearoa, new zealand
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The pima.nius googlegroup is a facility for discussion and distributing information. Content sent by this googlegroup are forwarded from various networks and media publications.
 
DISCLAIMER: These emails are unedited and discussions made through this googlegroup are unmoderated. Announcements made through this googlegroup do not constitute endorsement for the organisations, individuals or opinions featured. Please check the integrity of organisations and individuals before exchanging personal information with them.
 
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