5 Apr 2004

24 candidates in Vanuatu presidential election

3:47 pm on 5 April 2004

Vanuatu's electoral office has confirmed that 24 candidates have put themselves forward to contest the Presidential vacancy.

The former president, Father John Bani, and the country's first president, Ati George Sokomanu, as well as the Anglican Bishop, Charles Ling will stand.

Others include two former commissioners of police, Harry Collin and Willie David Saul, and one of the country's first graduate lawyers, Kalkot Mataskelekele.

Opposition parties claim to have the numbers to have one of their candidates, the former speaker, Alfred Masing, elected to the post.

Vanuatu has had four presidents since independence from Britain and France in 1980.

The electoral office is assessing the applications and will announce a shortlist to go before the electoral college later this week.