11 May 2007

Vanuatu coalition to consider replacement for sacked agriculture minister

1:43 pm on 11 May 2007

Vanuatu's Prime Minister Ham Lini is to convene a meeting of his coalition partners early next week to decide on a replacement for the agriculture minister.

Marcellino Pepite was dumped as agriculture minister just hours before Mr Lini flew to Washington for this week's meetings between Pacific leaders and US officials.

The government spokesman Patrick Crowby says Mr Pepite's removal stems from his involvement with the opposition in the Luganville municipal elections.

Mr Crowby says that went against the coalition government agreement to work together at all levels of government.

He says Mr Pepite's party, the Vanuatu Republican Party, will have a chance to explain themselves to the government executive.

"They have to talk with the VRP first and then find out what's going on, and then after they will discuss it with other [coalition] party presidents to find someone else. but I believe that we have to give the chance for VRP to explain themselves over the situation which led to the termination of the minister Pepite."