Sir Michael Somare [National Alliance] will retain his job as PNG prime minister when the party is invited to form government in two weeks time.So far the National Alliance secured 25 seats of the 95 declared, bettering its 2002 record when it won 19 seats. About 40% of sitting members retained their seats including Sir Julius Chan, Sir Mekere Morauta and Lady Carol Kidu. Sir Julius is about to be commemorated in bronze with Hal Holman’s sculpture of the veteran leader about to be unveiled in Port Moresby. Holman has now completed his series of all six PNG prime ministers since Independence in 1975.
Meanwhile, Wewak was thrown into confusion when Sir Michael was declared winner of the East Sepik seat last Friday. All major supermarkets, stores, food bars, bookshops and business houses including the three banks were forced to close by members of the general public who allegedly wanted to do “happy hour” shopping at the expense of the member-elect. People claimed there was a service message on the local radio station telling them that shops in town would open their doors to members of the public to do a three-minute shopping at the expense of Sir Michael. The National newspaper reported that “youths and opportunists” ran riot as missiles and flying debris were thrown by an angry crowd. Armed police and auxiliaries managed to control the situation after three hours.