Somare was Papua New Guinea’s longest-serving leader after becoming independent from Australia in 1975. He was Prime Minister for 17 years in four different periods.
Published: February 26, 2021 14:16 |
Last updated: February 26, 2021 2:16 p.m.
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CANBERRA: Michael Somare, a key figure in the independence of Papua New Guinea and the first Prime Minister of the South Pacific island nation, has died. He was 84 years old.
Somare was Papua New Guinea’s longest serving leader after becoming independent from Australia in 1975. He was prime minister for 17 years on four different time periods.
He died Friday after being diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer and was hospitalized on February 19, his daughter Betha Somare said.“Sir Michael was a loyal husband to our mother and a great father first of her children, then grandchildren and great-granddaughter. However, we are thrilled that many Papua New Guineans embraced Sir Michael as a father and grandfather alike, « she said.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape said Somare » is not matched by anyone who comes after him has come « .
» I appeal to our citizens and residents for a week of silence, peace and tranquility as we pay our respects to this one person our country owes so much, « said Marape. » He is widely loved in our country, may its memory bind the nation. «
The cabinet will meet later on Friday to announce details of a state funeral for the leader, who is also Papua New Guinea’s great chief and father was known to the nation.
Police Commissioner David Manning said the police would see that Papuan New Guineans mourn peacefully and that « opportunists do not use this sad day in our history to instill fear and panic ».
Pol Itic differences can lead to violence in Papua New Guinea, where elections are often accompanied by civil unrest.
« Grand Chief Sir Michael believed in the unity of this nation of a thousand tribes and gave his life for it, » Manning said. « He got up when it came to the colonial rulers and a world full of racism, ignorance and hatred. » devoted his life to creating a united and independent nation. «
Somare was born on April 9, 1936 in the town of Rabaul in eastern New Britain, which was occupied by Japan during World War II. He received his earliest education at a Japanese-run school in the village of Karau, where he Learned to read and write Japanese.
He was raised the son of a police officer in East Sepik Province, who he represented in Parliament.
Ron May, Fellow Emeritus in the Department of Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University and an expert on Papua New Guinea said Somare is one of the most prominent and respected leaders in the Pacific.
« Papua New Guinea made a smooth transition to independence with Somare as Prime Minister in 1975, confusing those in Australia and elsewhere who have a political and predicted economic collapse, « May wrote recently. » It remains one of the relatively few post-colonial states that has kept an unbroken record of democracy n. «
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Somare was an » outstanding figure in the history of Papua New Guinea « .
» As a driving force in the development of the national constitution of Papua New Guinea and first and foremost longest serving prime minister in the country, Sir Michael has an unprecedented place in the history of Papua New Guinea, « said Morrison.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Somare had been an » influential figure in parliament during the « remarkable five decades « He is widely recognized as the ‘Papa blo Kantri’ of Papua New Guinea – father of the nation – and had a leadership role as the statesman of the Pacific, » said Ardern. « He will be deeply missed. »
On the 30th anniversary of Papua New Guinea’s independence, Somare said he was generally satisfied with the progress made by his country.
« I am happy with the way things are going, however we could have done better, « he told the Australian SBS network in 2005.
His last term as Prime Minister ended controversially in 2011 when he was in a hospital in Singapore. The legislator Peter O’Neill has successfully submitted a motion in parliament that the office of prime minister is vacant. O’Neill was elected Prime Minister and held on to power despite the Supreme Court ruling against him twice before he was rightly elected in 2012.
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