25 Feb 2004

Vanuatu PM under pressure to drop another cabinet minister

11:14 am on 25 February 2004

The Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Edward Natapei, has confirmed that his Finance Minister, Sela Molisa, could be dumped from Cabinet.

If Mr Molisa goes it would force the second Cabinet reshuffle in a week - the third in three months.

It comes as a rift in the Vanuaaku Pati, to which both men belong, widens.

Another senior Minister and party member, Donald Kalpokas, resigned his portfolio last Friday, though Mr Natapei says he is yet to accept that decision.

The Prime Minister says he is under pressure to sack Mr Molisa.

"Well I've been pressured by the members - the majority of the members of the party - to ask him to leave."

Mr Natapei says any action will have to wait until Mr Molisa returns from overseas at the weekend.

He says despite the instability he is confident he can keep his Government together.