PORT MORESBY — Peter O'Neill was Friday re-elected the next leader of Papua New Guinea, ending a turbulent period in the nation's politics which at one point saw it with two rival prime ministers.
O'Neill won the vote on the floor of parliament 94 to 12 after elections handed him the overwhelming support of the Pacific island nation's lawmakers, his spokesman Daniel Korimbao told AFP from the capital Port Moresby.
An AFP photographer confirmed that O'Neill was sworn in by Governor-General Michael Ogio later Friday.
O'Neill's People's National Congress (PNC) won more seats than any other party in the polls which began on June 23 and he was able to swell support by forming partnerships with smaller parties.
No-one stood against him in the vote Friday.
"This is certainly an historic day for Papua New Guinea," Mr O'Neill told reporters outside Government House following his swearing in.
"I am pleased to announce the government of Papua New Guinea is now in place."
O'Neill also welcomed the "overwhelming mandate by both the parliament and the people of our country" for his party.
The events draw an end to a bizarre period in PNG politics which began when the Supreme Court ruled in December that O'Neill's election as prime minister by fellow MPs in August 2011 was illegal.
The court called for former premier Sir Michael Somare, who earlier that year had spent months in Singapore recuperating from heart surgery during which time his family had resigned on his behalf, to be reinstated.
The decision triggered a crisis which, at its height, saw the nation with two prime ministers, two governors-general and two police chiefs just as the nation stands on the brink of a massive resources boom.
O'Neill resisted calls to bring forward elections -- which are held every five years in the rugged country -- and polling opened on June 23.
Commonwealth observers in July said they had serious concerns about the elections, seen as a watershed moment after months of political uncertainty, given the number of candidates trying to bribe voters.
But Somare, 76, accepted the defeat of his party in the vote and agreed to support O'Neill in his bid to form the next government.
"That is good for the stability of Papua New Guinea, it gives overseas investors and people confidence that we have a democracy that works," Somare told Australia's SBS News Friday.
"I'd like to take my hat off to the people of Papua New Guinea and say democracy has worked, we've proved to the world that we can do it."
Australia congratulated O'Neill, with Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan saying in a joint statement with Foreign Minister Bob Carr it reflected the broad support he enjoyed in the struggling Pacific state.
"The successful election in PNG and the formation of a broad coalition government will give renewed confidence to the international community about PNG's political stability," the statement said.
Australia also paid tribute to Somare, who is known as the "Grand Chief", and said his participation in the new coalition was a welcome signal of political reconciliation after recent tensions.
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