8 Jul 2004

Vanuatu leader confident that his coalition will continue in power

9:30 pm on 8 July 2004

The Vanuatu Prime Minister Edward Natapei is confident that his coalition government will retain power but with the junior partner, the National United Party or NUP, taking the leading role.

In unofficial results the NUP has ten seats, several more than any other party.

Mr Natapei's Vanuaaku Party, or VP, lost half its seats which he attributes partly to public dissatisfaction with a widely publicised split in its ranks.

He also says the election results show people are disgruntled with the performance of political parties generally over the past 20 years and have instead chosen leaders from their own communities.

But Mr Natapei says he is confident that the VP and the NUP will form the new Government.

"we are pretty confident with the numbers that we have. The National United Party with ten and a possible additional independent candidate. With the VP we have the possibility of a six independents joining up with us and together with the RP (Republican Party) and the Greens Confederation we should be able to secure at least 31 members."