13 Apr 2004

Alfred Maseng new president of Vanuatu

2:37 pm on 13 April 2004

The Vanuatu parliament has elected Alfred Maseng as the country's new president to replace Father John Bani.

Mr Maseng, who is a former speaker of parliament, was chosen in a fourth round of voting after Thursday's and Saturday's rounds proved inconclusive.

More than two thirds of the electoral college, which included provincial leaders, chose him over the government-backed candidate Kalkot Mataskelekele.

His election on Easter Monday came after Mr Maseng was given the support of some government backbenchers.

The wrangle between the government and the opposition threatened to turn the election into a constitutional crisis.

Mr Maseng was sworn in yesterday as Vanuatu's fifth president.