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PNG PM O'Neill balancing power in minor Cabinet reshuffle

PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill is balling a power balance, as he welcomes a new minister to his cabinet this morning.

In a minor reshuffle swearing-in at the Government House, Mr O'Neill announced the appointment of Markham MP Koni Iguan, as the new Communications Minister.

Mr Iguan is a second term MP.

He takes over the portfolio from his PANGU Pati Leader, Sam Basil, who is now elevated to the Finance Ministry left vacant with the resignation of Tari-Pori MP, and one of the People's National Congress Party's strongmen, James Marape.

Mr Basil also still holds on to the Energy portfolio and minister responsible for Kumul Petroleum Holdings and Kumul Mining.

Despite his breakdown of trust in the prime minister and the government's handling of landowner participation in oil and gas developments in the Highlands region, there's been no indication of Mr Marape jumping ships from either the PNC or the government any time soon.

With PANGU, although it has the second biggest number in the coalition government, Mr O'Neill appears still not ready to relinquish the deputy prime minister's post held by the PNC's Alotau MP, Charles Abel.

Despite this PANGU Pati has been given a further but minor recognition in the appointment of Rigo MP, Lekwa Gure, also announced this morning, as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee - a role formerly occupied by Mr Iguan.

The PNC still maintains power over the government's business in Parliament, with Forestry Minister and Kirriwina-Goodenough MP, Douglas Tomuriesa, handed the role of Government Whip.


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