I accept defeat as National Alliance Party leader
Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, the East Sepik Provincial MP and former prime minister
The Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare said while he is pleased with the overwhelming mandate given to him by the people of East Sepik to remain their provincial representative in Parliament, he accepted defeat at the polls as the leader of the National Alliance Party.
National Alliance Party fielded many candidates throughout the country and campaigned in the short election period to restore the rule of law and the Constitution.
Sir Michael said, “As the leader of the party going into the elections, I rigorously campaigned with my team to ensure that the type of violations and breaches to the Constitution that began with my unconstitutional removal on 2 August 2011 are corrected and never happen again in the future of this country.
“However as the results of the elections emerge, I now accept that the people have spoken and many of the members of parliament and candidates of the National Alliance Party did not win their seats. This leaves me with little choice but to accept defeat as the leader of the National Alliance Party.
“I now hand over the leadership of the National Alliance Party to the interim leader Hon Patrick Pruaitch to take the reigns until such time as a permanent leader is determined by the Party caucus.
“I take this opportunity to thank the party executives, its parliamentary members,foundation members and its supporters for the confidence that all of you have had in my leadership since its formation in 1996.
“I call on all NA members to work together to get the best outcome for the Party and importantly for PNG.
“The fact remains that National Alliance and its coalition partners were able to create history by remaining in office for over nine years and brought back investor confidence; reigned in overspending by previous governments and replenished the government coffers.
“Through good economic management and sound policies in those nine and a half years we experienced growth in virtually all sectors including foreign investment, mining and petroleum, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, state owned enterprises, tourism and hospitality.
“There are still countless issues to be tackled and it will take a range of responsible governments many years to address all the underlying problems that exist in our country. But my government had proven that it is possible to change PNG’s future outlook for the better.
“The developments we see today are not confined to just Port Moresby. For the first time through the introduction of the District Support Improvement Programme (DSIP), development funds were actually getting into districts. Some districts have obviously utilised their allocations better than others so perhaps it is time the new government reviews and improves the DSIP to better address essential services especially in rural areas.
“It is important to acknowledge that in those nine and half years we did not see curfews in our towns as a result of law and order. There was complete freedom of speech and movement. We were able to achieve these developments in a free environment.
“Equally millions of Kina were allocated to housing projects throughout the country for our public service. In some areas new houses for doctors, nurses and police personnel were renovated or built.
“We made Consumer Price Index adjustments that had not been made over many years. We re-established the Minimum Wage Tribunal to look into minimum wages. We set a threshold for taxpayers who earned less than 10,000 Kina per annum not to pay taxes.
“My government created two new provinces and initiated the push for women in parliament through affirmative action. The nine and a half years sets a benchmark for future governments to measure their performance.
“Sadly many of our positive gains began to pale against unproven scandals that festered in the climate of suspicion which grew from having a single coalition government over a lengthy period of time never experienced in our short political history.
“In outlining these achievements I believe I have made my contribution at both the national and international level for PNG.
“The time has come for me to serve my people at the provincial level. I will therefore remain an ordinary member of the National Alliance Party and return to the province to dedicate my final term of office to the betterment of my people of East Sepik, said Sir Michael.
M T SOMARE GCL GCMG CH CF KStJ