15 May 2002

Pledge for Vanuatu coalition to continue

5:48 pm on 15 May 2002

Vanuatu's caretaker prime minister, Edward Natapei, and his deputy, Serge Vohor, have issued a joint statement, saying they will form a new coalition government in coming days.

Official election results from the election two weeks ago are not expected before the weekend, but in details released by party scrutineers, Mr Natapei's Vanuaaku Pati and the Union of Moderate Parties headed by Mr Vohor, are claiming at least 28 of the 52 seats in the parliament.

The two leaders, who first formed a coalition 13 months ago, say they will revise their original agreement.

There is no indication who will take the prime ministership.

Meanwhile, the acting president of the opposition National United Party, Ham Lini, has approved the resignation of the party President, Dinh Van Than.

Mr Lini, whose brother Father Walter Lini founded the NUP ten years ago, is seen as best qualified to head the party.