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PNG's speaker of parliament re-elected
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11:22, August 13, 2007

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Papua New Guinea's (PNG) previous speaker of parliament was re-elected Monday.

Jeffrey Nape was re-elected by the MPs when the parliament met for the first time since the general election which was held from the end of June to mid-July.

In a secret ballot, he gained 86 votes to the 22 votes for the alternative nominee, former treasurer Bart Philemon from the opposition benches, Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.

After the speaker's election, parliament was adjourned and Nape was whisked off to Government House to be sworn in by Governor- General Paulias Matane.

The election of the prime minister was due to take place Monday afternoon after Nape's return from the Government House.

Prime Minister Michael Somare is likely to be re-elected.

When MPs took their seats in the Parliament House, 87 sat on the government side and 21 on the opposition benches, indicating Somare easily had the numbers to be elected prime minister, according to AAP.

One MP, convicted rapist James Yali who remains in jail, was absent from the 109-member parliament Monday.

Heavy security is in place around the Parliament House, with dozens of armed police, some with tear gas launchers, patrolling entrance roads to the Parliament and checking visitors arriving to attend the vote by MPs.

Somare's National Alliance party gained 27 out of the 109 parliamentary seats and won the right to form a new government.

The party has attracted support of many independents and small parties since the end of the general election.

Source: Xinhua

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