13 Oct 2003

Vanuatu's ruling party endorses Foster Rakom in Efate by-election

12:14 pm on 13 October 2003

The Vanua'aku Pati has endorsened Foster Rakom as its candidate in next month's by-election in Vanuatu for a seat vacated by Barak Sope.

Sope lost the seat at the beginning of this year after being convicted to three years in jail for fraud but he was released three months later after the president, Father John Bani, pardoned him.

The Vanuaaku Pati secretary-general says it decided to back Mr Rakom of Mele village after irt became clear that another potential VP candidate, Joe Carlo of Pango village, also enjoyed a lot of support.

Our correspondent says the two men are related, and should Mr Carlo decide to run as an independent candidate they run the risk of decreasing each other's chance of winning the seat.

Sope is seen as the frontrunner and could regain his seat.