11 Sep 2008

Vanua'aku Pati bloc confident of claiming majority in Vanuatu power struggle

3:17 pm on 11 September 2008

Two rival blocs of MPs are claiming a majority of seats in Vanuatu's 52-seat parliament following the release of official results from last week's general election.

The two parties with the most MPs - the Vanua'aku Party, which won 11 seats, and the National United Party with 8 - have agreed to continue the coalition they formed for government over the past four years.

Their leaders are confident they will have the support of a majority of MPs in the 52-seat parliament.

However a rival bloc formed around the Vanuatu Republican Party, which has seven seats, also says it has the support to command a majority.

The VP leader Edward Natapei says that negotiations are ongoing.

"NUP and VP and the smaller groups groups we have 29 (MPs). What we're doing now is we're talking to another group that has broken away from their leader. They've decided to come and join us. We're talking to them now, it's possible they'll join us and that'll take it up to 33 members of parliament."

Edward Natapei