By ISAAC NICHOLAS PRIME Minister Peter O'Neill has appointed 33 new ministers in a cabinet line-up of mostly unknowns which, he claims, "are simple and humble leaders for the people of Papua New Guinea", The National reports.
However, indications were that representation from the highlands was most powerful, securing key economic positions including that of the prime minister, finance and treasury plus petroleum and energy.
Political sources said this might backfire on O'Neill and his People's National Congress party in the general election next year.
The southern region National Alliance group that defected to support the opposition was rewarded with five ministerial portfolios.
The United Resources Party, PNC and People's Party factions were rewarded with four ministries.
O'Neill said the distribution of ministries was done in consultation with political parties and leaders. East Sepik and West New Britain missed out completely.
A couple of Sepik MPs, including Wosera-Gawi's Ronald Asik and Telefomin's Peter Iwei, were evidently unhappy with their exclusion and shouted expletives during the swearing-in ceremony.
"One or two have missed out largely because of numbers; many were not been present in government and parties' decisions on who gets a ministry," the prime minister said.
He said there was full consultation between the different coalition partners and he tried his best to cover all provinces in his cabinet.
"The distribution of ministries shows a humble government for the people of Papua New Guinea."
O'Neill congratulated the new ministers sworn-in by Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio at Government House last Friday.
They included Ken Fairweather (Sumkar); Charles Abel (Alotau); David Arore (Ijivitari); Guma Wau (Kerowagi); Steven Kama (South Bougainville); Jim Miringtoro (Central Bougainville); Martin Aini (Kavieng); Jamie Maxtone-Graham (Anglimp-South Waghi); Thompson Harokaqveh (Goroka); Lucas Dekena (Gumine); Byron Chan (Namatanai); Puri Ruing (Dei); Benjamin Philip (Menyamya); Sali Subam (South Fly); Andrew Mald (Moresby Northeast); Mark Maipakai (Kikori); and Sai Beseo (Kainantu).
O'Neill also challenged the opposition members to re-join their political leaders in the new-look government