2 Oct 2008

Vanuatu government attempts a tightrope act over looming motion

3:04 pm on 2 October 2008

Vanuatu's government is hoping its cabinet reshuffle will ensure it has the numbers to defeat the motion of no-confidence it will face in parliament tomorrow.

Less than two weeks old, the new government of Edward Natapei is already threatened by defections, with two of its MPs this week signing the motion put forward by opposition leader Maxime Carlot Korman who claimed he had support of 27 of the 52 MPs

However Mr Natapei now appears to have secured his hold on power, after enticing the Union of Moderate Parties out of opposition with three cabinet portfolios.

But the Prime Minister's first political advisor, Nikenike Vurobaravu, admits that it's difficult to manage the oscillations of MPs in Vanuatu politics.

"You know when you have a strong focus of politics on personal wantoks, regional islands priorities, it's very difficult to try and weld a group based on a shared vision about national goals."

Nikenike Vurobaravu says that Mr Korman may also find it hard to stop his group of MPs changing allegiances.