17 Jun 2004

Key Vanuatu parties to fight election together

8:21 pm on 17 June 2004

In Vanuatu, traditional political party rivals, the faction of the Vanuaaku Pati led by Prime Minister Edward Natapei, and its coalition partner, National United Party, have agreed to a joint campaign to fight the July 6th election.

The announcement by campaign spokesman, Patrick Crowby, has reportedly been well received by the supporters of both parties.

The NUP was formed by the country's first prime minister and president of the Vanuaaku Pati, the late Father Walter Lini, after he and 11 others were expelled from the Vanuaaku Pati in 1991.

Meanwhile, Mr Natapei, has started legal action to stop a breakaway faction of of the Vanuaaku Pati, led by former Prime Minister Donald Kalpokas, from using the name.

The factions developed after Mr Kalpokas challenged the election of Mr Natapei as president of the party at a congress last year.