17 Feb 2004

Vanuatu prime minister quashes demands for second ministerial post for coalition partner

4:43 pm on 17 February 2004

An expected reshuffle of the Vanuatu cabinet has failed to materialise and the demand by the junior coalition partner for a second cabinet seat, remains in limbo.

The leader of The Alliance for Development of Vanuatu, Maxime Carlot Korman, has threatened to pull out on several occasions and take all nine seats in the alliance with him, if prime minister, Edward Natapei, did not give it another ministerial post.

But the Government has resisted the pressure and remains intact.

Our correspondent, Len Garae, reports from Port Vila.

"The prime minister came out strongly on the radio denying all allegations in regards to a possible reshuffle, saying that there is solidarity, there is unity in the government and he's not aware where the information is coming from. Mr Korman, the president of the Alliance has come out to say that he has no interest in a ministerial portfolio, he just wants to be on the government side. So it seems as though he has backed down from his earlier demand."