23 Apr 2003

Vanuatu Prime Minister says coalition not threatened by merger talks

4:20 pm on 23 April 2003

The Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Edward Natapei, says he won't allow efforts to re-unite his Vanuaaku Pati and the Opposition National United Party to undermine his current coalition with the Union of Moderate Parties.

He says the country cannot afford a change of Government at the moment.

Mr Natapei says he has always supported the re-unification of the two parties which split in 1991, but it cannot be at the expense of the coalition with the UMP.

He says a change of government now would have a lot of financial implications for the country.

"something that we do not have at the moment,... something we have to carefully look at it in the light of what the government can afford to do......Any major change now, will just set back, one, the stability of the country, secondly, the financial implication on the government will just cause more problems for service deliveries to our population."

Edward Natapei.

The plans for the re-unification come after the NUP dropped its long time President, Dinh van Than, and after the Opposition had filed a motion for a vote of no confidence in Mr Natapei's administration.