9 Jul 2004

Vanuatu's NUP believes it can sign an MOU signalling a new coalition government within days

5:00 pm on 9 July 2004

The secretary general of Vanuatu's National United Party, Willie Jimmy, says he expects they can announce a coalition government built around the NUP early next week.

The NUP won ten seats in the election - more than any other party, and Willie Jimmy says talks on forming a coalition have been going very well.

He says the party went into the election having already committed to extending its coalition with current Prime Minister Edward Natapei's Vanuaaku Party.

"the National United Party will stand by that, we will respect our agreement - first of all to align ourselves with the Vanuaaku Party and then the other two parties that are part of the present government, and if we haven't got the numbers we will seek someone else to make up the difference"

Willie Jimmy says a memorandum of understanding should be signed by the parties withn days.

He agrees with Edward Natapei's assessment that they can get the support of 31 MPs in the 52 seat House.

Mr Jimmy says the NUP party president, Ham Lini, is most likely to be offered the Prime Ministership.