25 Oct 2003

Former Vanuatu PM challenges election of Edward Natapei as party president

9:30 am on 25 October 2003

One of the leaders of Vanuatu's independence struggle and former prime minister, Donald Kalpokas, has challenged the re-election of the current Prime Minister, Edward Natapei, as president of the ruling Vanuaaku Pati.

Mr Kalpokas, who also holds the health portfolio in the present coalition govenment, has petitioned the party's congress, calling for another election for the position.

He says the number of votes counted did not correspond with the number of subcommittees that voted.

Mr Natapei was elected by 90 subcommittees while 70 voted against him.

But his rival claims that some subcommittees had no right to vote as they were not paid up members of the party.