Ban voices concern about leadership deadlock in Papua New Guinea

13 December 2011

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern today about mounting political tensions in Papua New Guinea, where two prominent politicians each say they are the Pacific country’s rightful leader.

Papua New Guinea’s Parliament voted earlier this year to elect Peter O’Neill as Prime Minister after determining that the post was vacant when incumbent Sir Michael Somare spent five months abroad for medical treatment, according to media reports.

The reports indicate that the country’s Supreme Court has since ruled that Parliament acted illegally, and that Sir Michael – who has returned to Papua New Guinea – should be reinstated.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban called on all sides “to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid an escalation of the situation.”

He added that he hoped the crisis would be “resolved soon in a peaceful manner in accordance with the constitution.”

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