9 Apr 2010

Tanna MP insists he's the elected President of Vanuatu's leading political party

8:18 am on 9 April 2010

The Tanna MP Harry Iauko insists he is the President of the Vanua'aku Pati as the ongoing dispute within Vanuatu's largest political party heads to court.

Mr Iauko says he has been elected to lead the party following what he calls the official party congress on Tongoa last week.

Party members held two congresses with one choosing the incumbent party president, Prime Minister Edward Natapei and the other Mr Iauko as president.

Mr Natapei is seeking a court order to stop Mr Iauko from using the party's name.

Mr Iauko denies claims by Mr Natapei that the Tanna MP gained a mandate outside of the official process.

"I didn't go ahead and have my own congress. It is the congress that Natapei officially opened. At this point of time I am the only duly-elected President of the Vanua'aku pati after the Lumbukuti 37th Congress of the Vanua'aku Pati."