1 Mar 2006

Vanuatu prime minister reshuffles cabinet

11:23 am on 1 March 2006

Vanuatu's Prime Minister Ham Lini has dumped two ministers, including former leader Barak Sope.

Mr Lini says the changes were made after he learned Mr Sope was negotiating to topple his government.

Mr Sope, who was Minister of Agriculture, has been replaced by Dunstan Hilton.

A second minister, Arnold Prasad, who was the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, has been replaced by Marcellino Pipite.

The changes mean that the government coalition has 34 of the 52 seats in the Parliament.

Mr Sope has confirmed that he is working on forming an alternative government.

And another former senior cabinet minister Sela Molisa says he too has plans to topple the Lini administration and replace it with one headed by himself.