22 Apr 2004

Vanuatu opposition backs president over resignation call

5:00 pm on 22 April 2004

An opposition party in Vanuatu says it's opposed to calls by the Council of Women to have the newly elected president, Alfred Maseng, sacked.

The Council says he should never have been allowed to stand because he is serving a suspended sentence for fraud and receiving stolen goods.

But the National United Party, which backed Mr Maseng's candidacy, says the election process was proper.

The party's secretary general, Charlot Salwai, says there is no crisis.

"I don't see exactly if there's a constitutional crisis because we follow all the electoral college, who was responsible for the election of the president, for following all the process and it was in constitution at the time to elect the president. Only thing is since the election, news raised now comes from the media now says the current president is convicted."

Charlot Salwai

The electoral commission says it was not told by police before the election that the President has a conviction.