3rd-Ld Writethru: PNG PM's party to form new government following election
CANBERRA, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Papua New Guinea's (PNG) Governor- General Paulias Matane on Monday asked Prime Minister Michael Somare's National Alliance Party to form a new coalition government.
The party won 27 of 109 parliamentary seats in the national election which was held from June 30 to mid July, and is the party winning the most parliamentary seats.
The country's Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen on Friday suggested the governor-general to ask the party winning most seats to form government.
Somare told the governor-general he has accepted the invitation to form government.
"I accept the invitation to form the next government of Papua New Guinea," Somare told Matane.
"The National Alliance Party wishes to thank the people of Papua New Guinea for their confidence in mandating the party," he was quoted by Australian Associated Press as saying.
The National Alliance Party has attracted 13 independents to join it, but Somare needs another 15 seats before next Monday when parliament meets to decide who will be the prime minister of the country for the next five years.
Somare thanked independent members who had decided to join his party.
"With their support the party is stronger and better placed to provide the leadership that the country needs at this time of our development," he said.
"We are proud people, we are a sovereign nation. We recognize our shortcomings but we will not be overwhelmed by them," he added.
"Over the next five years we will use the proceeds of our successes to improve the quality of life of our people," Somare said.
The National Alliance Party won the right to form government following 2002's national election and Somare, who led the previous government for record five years, became the country's longest-serving prime minister.
Meanwhile, the National Alliance and its coalition partners signed a memorandum of understanding last Saturday, essentially agreeing to return Somare as prime minister for another five years, according to the National, one of the leading newspapers in the country.
The coalition partners include Peoples Action Party, United Resource Party, Pangu, National Party, Melanesian Liberal Party and Melanesian Alliance.
The National Alliance and its current coalition partners claim 59 seats, more than enough to form government if the others decide to leave, the newspaper quoted sources as saying.