1 Oct 2008

Vanuatu Prime Minister hands three Cabinet posts to UMP to counter confidence motion

5:21 pm on 1 October 2008

Vanuatu's ruling government appears to have secured it hold on power, after offering three cabinet portfolios to the Union of Moderate Parties to entice it out of opposition.

Prime Minister Edward Natapei iss expected to face a no confidence motion on Friday with the Opposition leader Maxime Carlot Korman claiming he had the backing of 27 of the 52 MPs..

But the Pacnews Agency reports that Mr Natapei has now made the UMP leader and former Prime Minister, Serge Vohor, the Minister of Public Utilities - with Ham Lini, anaother former Prime Minister moving to the Justice portfolio.

Another UMP member Rafael Vorvor takes over the Lands Ministry from Joe Natuman who goes to Health.

Charlod Saluwai, another UMP member is the new Education minister, replacing Willie Abel, who along with three other MPs returns to the backbenches.

This reshuffle means Mr Natapei has 31 seats in the parliament.