21 May 2002

Edward Natapei likely to remain Vanuatu Prime Minister

3:22 pm on 21 May 2002

Official results of the election in Vanuatu, released last night, show the two parties which will make up the Government have both won 14 seats in the 52 member Parliament.

The political co-ordinator of the Vanuaaku Pati, Willie Reuben Abel, says they also have the backing of four independents, while the Union of Moderate Parties has the support of one independent, giving the coalition 33 votes in the Parliament.

And he says the two parties have signed a memorandum of understanding which includes a decision on who will lead the coalition.

"Ah....the two parties have agreed that Mr Edward Natapei ....ah continue to lead the next government regardless of the numbers gained between the two parties."

Willie Reuben Abel.

The Melanesian Progressive Party, headed by former Prime Minister Barak Sope won three seats, while the National United Party took eight.

The Greens party, consisting the poll for the first time, won three seats.

Its leader, Moana Carcasses, says while they are in the Opposition grouping, they will vote issue by issue.

basically what we would like to do is get in government....but the problem is......so what we have to do is stay in the Opposition and we will vote for what is good and anything that is bad for the people