20 Feb 2004

Vanuatu Cabinet reshuffled but instablity remains

5:25 pm on 20 February 2004

The Vanuatu Cabinet has been reshuffled for the second time in three months, but our correspondent says the Government's position remains shaky.

The Republican leader Maxime Carlot Korman, who had threatened to leave and bring the Government down unless he was added to Cabinet, is the new Agriculture Minister.

It is one of three changes, which have also seen the dumping of long serving Minister Joe Natuman, who had been Prime Minister Edward Natapei's main rival for the Presidency of the Vanuaaku Pati.

Meanwhile our correspondent reports that, since the reshuffle, another rival of Mr Natapei's within the Vanuaaku Pati, Donald Kalpokas, has resigned from his Education portfolio.

He had earlier turned down an offer to be his party's candidate in next month's election for the national Presidency.