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PNG's parliament to elect prime minister amid heavy security
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09:52, August 13, 2007

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The parliament of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is expected to elect the country's prime minister late Monday amid heavy security.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio reported Monday that Michael Somare, who has been the country's prime minister since the 2002 national election, is likely to be re-elected.

The election of the prime minister by the parliament follows the national election which was held from the end of June to mid- July.

Somare's National Alliance party gained 27 out of the 109 parliamentary seats in the national election, and now has the support of more than 70 members of parliament after forming coalition with some smaller parties and independents.

The PNG parliament meets for the first time on Monday after the national election and the newly elected members will be sworn in.

The prime minister will be elected after the election of the speaker in parliament.

Somare plans to retire from politics after leading the country for the next three years and said he will hand over the reins of his leadership to one of his party members, according to ABC.

The National Alliance party won the right to form government following 2002 national election and Somare, who led the previous government for record five years, became the country's longest- serving prime minister.

Source: Xinhua

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