Papua New Guinea leader retires due to ill health

AP News
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Posted: Jun 28, 2011 3:02 AM
Papua New Guinea leader retires due to ill health

Papua New Guinea's prime minister is retiring from politics due to ill health 36 years after becoming the South Pacific island nation's first leader after its independence from Australia in 1975.

Three-time Prime Minister Michael Somare took a leave of absence in December to undergo heart surgery in Singapore.

His son Arthur Somare told a news conference in the capital Port Moresby on Tuesday that his 75-year-old father remains critically ill and has decided to retire from politics.

Deputy Prime Minister Sam Abal is serving as acting leader. It is not yet known when a permanent successor will be chosen.