6 Jun 2002

Vanuatu government seeks one more MP to change constitution

5:10 pm on 6 June 2002

The new Vanuatu government says it needs the support of just one opposition MP for the two thirds vote needed to change the constitution.

The coalition of the Vanuaaku Pati and the Union of Moderate Parties which was sworn on Monday, has 29 seats in the 52 member Parliament, but also has the backing of five independents.

The prime minister Edward Natapei said during the election campaign that the country's development had been hampered by the series of shortlived governments.

In the past ten years, there have been ten changes of government.

He says to overcome this, the coalition will endeavour to change the constitution.

"We're looking at the perhaps putting in an amendment to ensure that members who cross the floor lose their seats as a result, and have to go back to face the election again .... a by-election."

Edward Natapei.

Before the election Mr Natapei also spoke of restricting the numbers of independents in parliament, but he says they first have to wait for a report from the constitution review committee.