10 Dec 2003

Vanuatu government strengthened with opposition MP Korman joining

11:17 am on 10 December 2003

A former Vanuatu prime minister who has been in opposition, Maxime Carlot Korman, has joined the ruling coalition.

The move comes less than a week after the opposition, which included Mr Korman's Alliance for the Development of Vanuatu, abandoned another attempt to get a vote of no confidence in the government.

Th defection of Mr Korman's party gives the ruling coalition, led by the prime minister Edward Natepei, the backing od 34 MPs in the 52-member parliament.

The prime minister's office has made no announcement on the changes but our correspondent says Mr Korman may become the speaker of parliament, a position he held when Vanuatu became independent 23 years ago.