By REGINALD RENAGI
Recently the media raised three interesting questions: “Who will be the next prime minister?; will the prime minister quit politics in 2011 before the 2012 national elections; and what will happen to the National Alliance Party or the current government?
This is a subjective issue and you will get many different answers.
I will try to predict what may happen gauging from public perceptions and opinions of a coalition government’s performance since the 2002 national elections.
So who will be the next PM? This is easy in an ideal political world where the job will naturally go to the next senior MP after the prime minister in the ruling party’s hierarchical ‘chain of command’.
In this case, it should go to the deputy PM, if the PM quits politics this year as speculated in the media.
This will not happen because we are not in an ideal political world. There are many competing interests and shifting alliances within any coalition party government.
First of all, PM Somare will not quit politics in 2011 and before the elections.
Somare is enjoying the feeling of power and controlling the destiny of over six million citizens that he would still like to extend his record of being in politics until after the 2012 national elections.
More so, no-one believes Michael Somare's occasional talks of leaving politics any more in the media.
The people of PNG have heard it many times before, like prior to the 2002 and 2007 elections as predicted.
The man just does not keep his word anymore so the public does not now take him seriously at his word.
The PM did not quit politics as speculated by the media.
On a hypothetical note, if the PM was to quit politics in 2011 due to some reason like ill-health, the NA party will most likely see splits in its senor ranks.
Some NA party members have openly shown that they do not want the job going to the deputy PM incumbent as they see themselves as the ideal choice for the top job.
A prediction is the NA party may not do too well in the 2012 polls without the stabilizing presence of its drawcard, Michael Somare; the glue holding the NA party together.
With due respect to other NA party members, no-one is eminently qualified with the required seniority, depth of public administration knowledge and experience; and political maturity to succeed the PM Somare than the former deputy PM, Sir Puka Temu.
Sir Puka had the edge over all the NA party’s regional deputies as none were effective departmental heads like him before entering politics.
But alas, this is not to be as he has left for the opposition.
Another former DPM, Don Polye, has also been recently dispensed by Somare for fellow Engan, Sam Abal.
Michael Somare will not simply bow out of politics with a whimper but a loud bang in the 2012 national general elections.