PNG PM hands resignation letter, ending weeks of political turmoil

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-29 11:32:41|Editor: Yang Yi
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PORT MORESBY, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister Peter O'Neill ended weeks of political uncertainty in the South Pacific nation, handing over a formal letter of resignation to the governor general on Wednesday.

Underfire following a series of recent defections from the ruling party, the embattled statesman told parliament this morning, "it is my honor to thank the people of PNG who allowed me to serve ... but it is important I vacate this seat so we can move on," he said, citing a need to stabilize confidence in the country's business sector.

Losing the majority in the 111-seat parliament, O'Neill was staring down the prospect of a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

Although on Tuesday, he filed a motion in the nation's Supreme Court to test the challenge's legality, O'Neill has now succumb to the pressure of his political opponents.

"It has been my great honor to serve this nation and lead this nation for almost eight years," O'Neill said.

"We have had some profound accomplishments during our term in government, through a policy agenda that has almost transformed the nation."

Since coming to power in 2011, O'Neill said one of his most significant achievements was the success of last year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders Summit and the international partnerships it helped facilitate.

"We've also delivered more infrastructure than in any point in our history ... this has enabled freedom for our people and provided opportunities for our people to travel and do business."

"We have been able to improve our global image as a country. We have done that by strengthening our bilateral relations with our traditional partners and of course, making new friends."

With the parliament adjourned by the speaker on Wednesday, house members will have the opportunity to elect a new prime minister when the parliament sits at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday.