20 Jul 2004

Claims diplomats offered inducements to Vanuatu MPs to swap allegiance

7:00 pm on 20 July 2004

There are claims in Vanuatu that diplomatic missions have offered inducements for MPs to switch sides as two coalitions battle to become the Government.

Both coalitions say they have the numbers to assume power in the 52 seat parliament.

But Serge Vohor, a former Prime Minister, and leader of one faction centred on his Union of Moderate Parties, claims that the diplomatic missions have been interfering in the election process.

Local political reporter, Kal Moli, reports that Serge Vohor is claiming he has proof the diplomats offered inducements to MPs to back the current government coalition of Prime Minister Edward Natapei.

"It is in relation to several bank account numbers that have been circulating in Port Vila and several contact numbers within the diplomatic missions, especially the Australian mission, whereby indivdual MPs, young independent MPs were asked to contact them so that they could assist their defection to the Natapei block"