3 May 2002

Vanuatu coalition hopeful of re-election

5:22 pm on 3 May 2002

The current administration in Vanuatu appears likely to be returned to power in this week's election.

The Vanua'aku Party of the prime minister, Edward Natapei, is already claiming 13 of the 52 seats in the new parliament.

Don Wiseman reports.

"The Vanuaaku Party had set a goal to better the nineteen seats it took in the 1998 election and with many unofficial results still to be released while voting is also continuing today in several areas the party would appear to be on target to reaching it's goal. Their coalition partner the Union of Moderate parties has also claimed at least three seats. The UNP committed to renewing the coalition with the Vanuaaku Party before the poll. In other developments Luganville has been granted a second public holiday to facilitate voting after the suspension of yesterday's poll. Meanwhile one of the election observers Bishop Charles Lling says voters told him that the discussion of electoral issues prior to the poll had completely changed the environment he says he spoke with some very contented voters. I interviewed several people from each polling station and I think most of them said this is the best election so far they have had I didn't see any people threatening voters so no problem, people just came in free and vote free and people just happy the electoral office has stressed that the official vote count may not take place until next week and that that process may take a week."