23 Jan 2004

Vanuatu government coalition to split

6:09 am on 23 January 2004

There are unconfirmed reports that the second largest block in the Vanuatu coaltion government plans to pull out of the grouping.

The Vanuatu Republican Party, which is led by former prime minister Maxime Carlot Korman and includes nine MPs, is expected to make announcement today.

If the MPs leave the ruling coalition, the position of the prime minister, Edward Natapei, is threatened because he would command the support of only 23 members in the 50 seat assembly.

The report comes amid threats of a vote of no confidence in Mr Natapei and rumbles of discontent from within his own Vanuaaku Pati.