6 Aug 2004

Uncertainty in Vanuatu power play

4:49 pm on 6 August 2004

The deputy leader of the Vanuatu opposition and previous prime minister, Edward Natapei, says the three MPs who announced they were defecting from the week-old government of Serge Vohor, to the opposition, have not changed their minds.

During the week, Arnold Prasad, Paul Telukluk and Thomas Nentu in resigned from the government, reportedly because they did not get the portfolios they had been promised.

The defections, giving a majority to the opposition, triggered a notice of motion of no-confidence which was lodged with the Clerk of Parliament on Wednesday.

But the prime minister's private secretary, Kal Moli, says there is no sign of the motion.

And he says the prime minister is confident he retains the mandate to continue governing.

"The suggested defectors have since rescinded their signatures from a supposed motion of no-confidence, and they are now back in government. There are some complications with regards to the sharing of the ministerial portfolios and the sharing of senior positions within his government, but this matter has been taken care of and the members who had been giving their concerns are happy with the arrangements so far."

But Edward Natapei says, as far as he is concerned, that isn't true.

Paul Teluluk assured us last night that there haven't been any moves from any of them to go back with the government.

The deputy leader of the Vanuatu opposition, Edward Natapei.