7 Mar 2005

Vanuatu Government says Opposition planted false report that leadership shaky

8:31 pm on 7 March 2005

The Vanuatu government is blaming Opposition MPs for a report in the local media that partners in the Government coalition had called on the Prime Minister, Ham Lini, to resign by the end of last week.

The paper, Ni-Vanuatu, said the ultimatum was issued by the People's Progressive Party whose leader is the deputy prime minister, Sato Kilman.

But Mr Kilman and the leader of the Vanuaaku Pati, Edward Natapei, have dismissed the report.

Mr Natapei has called on the paper to apologize or face possible legal action, but the paper's owner has ruled that out, saying the information came from an MP.

A spokesman for Mr Lini says the Prime Minister is dismissing the report as another attempt by the Opposition to undermine the governing coalition.