By GORETHY KENNETH
FOUNDER of National Alliance party and Papua New Guinea’s first Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare has relinquished his leadership after accepting defeat.
Aitape Lumi MP Patrick Pruaitch is now the new acting NA party leader until a permanent leader is chosen by the party caucus later this year.
Sir Michael said yesterday that while he was pleased with the overwhelming mandate given to him by the people of East Sepik to remain their provincial representative in Parliament, he accepted defeat at the polls as the leader of NA.
The party fielded many candidates throughout the country and campaigned in the short election period to restore the Rule of Law and the Constitution.
“As the leader of the party going into the elections, I rigorously campaigned with my team to ensure that the type of violations and breaches to the Constitution that begun with my unconstitutional removal on 2nd August, 2011 are corrected and can never happen again in the future of this country,” Sir Michael said.
“However, as the results of the elections emerge, I now accept that the people have spoken and many of the MPs and candidates of NA did not win their seats. This leaves me with little choice but to accept defeat as the leader of the party,” he said.
“I now hand over the leadership of NA to the interim leader, Patrick Pruaitch, to take the reins until such time as a permanent leader is determined by the party caucus.
“I take this opportunity to thank the party executives, its parliamentary members, foundation members and supporters for the confidence that all of you have had in my leadership since its formation in 1996. I call on all NA members to work together to get the best outcome for the party and importantly for PNG,” Sir Michael said.
“The fact remains that National Alliance and its coalition partners were able to create history by remaining in office for over nine years and brought back investor confidence; reigned in overspending by previous governments and replenished the government coffers.
“Through good economic management and sound policies in those nine and a half years we experienced growth in virtually all sectors including foreign investment, mining and petroleum, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, state-owned enterprises, tourism and hospitality.
“There are still countless issues to be tackled and it will take a range of responsible governments many years to address all the underlying problems that exist in our country. But my government had proven that it is possible to change PNG’s future outlook for the better.
“The time has come for me to serve my people at the provincial level. I will therefore remain an ordinary member of the National Alliance Party and return to the province to dedicate my final term of office to the betterment of my people of East Sepik,” he said.
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