14 Jul 2004

No sign yet what shape the new Vanuatu Government will take

3:58 pm on 14 July 2004

It is still unclear what shape the new Govenrment in Vanuatu will take, but a former Prime Minister and the most recent Opposition leader, Serge Vohor, has expressed confidence that he can put together a coalition.

Official results are to be announced tomorrow morning and commentators say serious negotiations among the nine parties and nine independents represented in the new Parliament will begin at that point.

Earlier this week the secretary general of the National United Party, Willie Jimmy, said he was building a coalition with caretaker Prime Minister Edward Natapei's Vanuaaku Party, but our correspondent, Kal Moli, says this is now less likely.

"the Vanuaaku Pati has reduced down to eight but this has been cut further to six with two dissident leaders, Sela Molisa and Joe Natuman, openly supporting Serge Vohor. This automatically puts Mr Natapei out of the picture. Mr Natapei had intended giving his support to the NUP but that support based on his new numbers will not be strong, so the alternative will be Serge Vohor from the Union of Moderate Parties, but things will become more clear when results are announced tomorrow at ten o'clock"

Meanwhile, the electoral commission is still to decide whether a by- election should be held on Tanna after the destruction of ballot boxes there last week.