21 Apr 2003

Vanuatu's coalition government signs agreement with opposition party to run country

4:21 pm on 21 April 2003

Vanuatu's coalition government has signed an agreement with the opposition National United Party to join it in running the country.

The NUP is expected to take over three government portfolios this week as part of the signed memorandum of understanding.

The NUP is likely to take over finance which is currently held by the Vanuaaku Pati. as well as Trade and Public Utilities which are held by the Union of Moderate Parties.

The sigining of the MOU comes after the election of Pentecost MP, Ham Lini, as NUP's new president.

Mr Lini is the brother of the late Father Walter Lini, who is the founding father of Vanuatu's independence from Britain and France and who formed the NUP.

Political observers say the agreement is the first step towards the possible reunification of NUP with the Vanuaaku Pati which were one group until an internal power struggle in 1991.