THE United Resource Party’s eight MPs have thrown their support behind Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, ending speculation of a breakaway highlands bloc from within the coalition government, The National reports.
Party founder and Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru, backed by Kagua-Erave MP James Lagea and Komo-Margarima MP Francis Potape, told a media conference yesterday that the Somare-Temu government would reign until 2012.
He said this when welcoming Lagea, who officially joined the party in a ceremony at the Gateway Hotel.
“With the intensity of activities in
Lagea was formerly with the PNG Conservative Party.
Party leader and Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma was not present at the conference because he was attending a National Executive Council meeting.
Agiru said with OLIPPAC ruled null and void by the courts, it gave Lagea the opportunity to join URP from his one-man party.
He also dismissed speculation that three of the party’s MPs – Eastern Highlands Governor Malcolm Kela-Smith, Environment Minister Benny Allan and Kerowagi MP Guma Wau – would join the opposition.
“URP stands for stability and now is the time for members to show integrity.
“URP will not decide in haste and will provide the cushion for political stability in the country,” he added.
Agiru said looking for 34 MPs was a tough job for the opposition, who had admitted that they did not have the numbers but were offering the prime minister’s job to anyone who could bring in the numbers.
“They are testing the waters and URP does not need to test the waters. URP is in government,” he said.
Lagea said he was privileged to join URP to ensure the Somare government served its term to 2012.
“There is no vacancy (for the prime minister) in PNG and we have a government in place until 2012,” he said.
Potape said the current government had been good, especially to landowners, and it was most important that it remained in power.