PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare has rewarded the highlands region with five new faces in cabinet for helping him fight off a spirited bid to remove him from office, The National reports.
The prime minister ended a tumultuous week by appointing eight new ministers to an expanded cabinet, and promoting National Alliance party highlands region leader Don Polye to deputy prime minister.
In a week of uncertainty which saw Deputy Prime Minister Puka Temu and Minister Belden Namah (
The highlands bloc held the key to the government’s survival, and were talking to the opposition while negotiating with Somare.
When the notice of a motion of no-confidence was lodged with the speaker yesterday morning, they decided to remain with the prime minister.
They were rewarded with the appointment of Polye as deputy prime minister and Benjamin Poponawa (Tambul-Nebilyer, NA), Lucas Dekena (Gumine, NA), Guma Wau (Kerowagi, URP), John Pundari (Kompiam-Ambum, PP) and Francis Potape (Komo-Margarima, URP) were made ministers.
The other new ministers were Timothy Bonga (Nawaeb, NA), Moses Maladina (Esa’ala, RDP) and Fidelis Semoso (Bougainville, NA).
Bonga takes the forestry portfolio vacated by Namah, Wau replaced Abel and Semoso is Minister for Bougainville Affairs.
The portfolio of the other five ministers will be made known today.
The prime minister said he would work on the determinations for the new ministries being created, and then announced them before he leaves for
He said this was only a precursor to a major cabinet reshuffle to be announced in two weeks time.
He described the new ministers appointed as well credentialed men who were well versed in politics.
Sir Michael said the additional ministries would come out from the more-than-one portfolios looked after by individual MPs such as mining, lands, physical planning and civil aviation.
Polye will be acting prime minister when Sir Michael leaves for