23 Apr 2003

Vanuatu opposition leader says reunification of two parties will provide political stability

11:02 am on 23 April 2003

Vanuatu's Opposition leader says a planned reunification of his National United Party and the governing Vanuatu Pati is aimed at providing the stability to encourage economic growth.

Willie Jimmy says the current coalition government is struggling to function and this has left the economy fragile.

The NUP split from the Vanuaaku Pati in 1991, but it has signed an initial agreement to rejoin and that deal should be formalised next week.

Willie Jimmy says he is not sure how the second party in the current coalition, the UMP, will react to the change.

Mr Jimmy says if the UMP pullout, the reunited party would need the support of independents and two minor parties to survive in Government.

But he says the change is a long term strategy looking to future elections.

Mr Jimmy says this will give political stability and provide confidence for investors.

"For the time being it's really for a trial. The prime minister himself told me very clearly when we had a meeting together. He says he is finding it very difficult to work with the UMP because they are not attending Council of Ministers meetings. There are hardly any Councillors meetings on major policy issues."