Monday 07th May, 2012
Chief to lead NA in polls
By Gorethy Kenneth
GRAND Chief Sir Michael Somare did not step down as the leader of the National Alliance, over the weekend as he promised.
But the veteran politician confirmed that he would lead the National Alliance Party during the 2012 elections and hinted that he would hand over the leadership after the Government is formed in July.
The people of East Sepik have officially and continuously said that they will not vote for anybody else except Grand Chief Sir Michael. It is also understood that Sir Michael will serve his full term as NA leader through to the end of the elections when the new leader will be elected.
But the Chief’s family insists that the “old man” should step down from the political arena because of their own reasons.
“Whether Michael Thomas Somare contests the election or not is a private decision that he and his family will have to decide,” the NA Party leadership announced last night.
Sir Michael also did not specifically say that he was going to nominate when the writs are issued next Friday. He said this during the National Alliance corporate dinner on Saturday night where all the party’s intending candidates were introduced to the public and the state of the economy of PNG explained to the “would-be” MPs by former Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari.
“I am sure many of you tonight are wondering, what this old man is going to do next? Before I tell you, let me go back a year,” Sir Michael said. I have had a long and good life with 44 years dedicated to politics. As I step off the political stage, I am proud to leave the legacy of my final battle. – Our constitution is intact and the rule of law will prevail. As one of the oldest people in PNG today I know that I still have so much to give to PNG and my people of East Sepik.
“Even though the NA Party Constitution does not allow it, I thank National Alliance for its confidence in allowing me to serve three terms as party leader. Today, National Alliance has a membership of 13 MPs but as you can see from our candidates tonight many outside of parliament still want to be associated with the Party. I assure candidates and sitting members that I will campaign strongly for National Alliance and its coalition partners to form government this July. After July a new chapter in my life will begin. I believe a new political era will also begin for PNG in July. We have seen over the last nine months what we do not want to happen in PNG,” he said. NA has always been a pace-setter. On Saturday night, the corporate dinner was different. Corporate clients were invited to the dinner and told “you can donate or pledge if you have to, but tonight its dinner for all of us!” it was a success as major companies attended and several PNG leaders and elites turned up to join the Party and their 79 candidates enjoy dinner, dances and jokes that was shared among all. “National Alliance has proven over the last nine years that it is a responsible government and will improve on its record over the next five years. Finally, I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed and supported the National Alliance Party to go into the elections. I will not mention specific names tonight but a personal letter of appreciation will come from the party in due course,” Sir Michael said.