7 Jun 2010

Vanua'aku Pati MPs declare support of Natapei to Parliament Speaker

3:53 pm on 7 June 2010

Vanuatu's parliamentary Speaker says most MPs have complied with his order to declare their political affiliations amid an ongoing dispute over the leadership of the Vanua'aku Pati.

The two main factions of the country's largest political party are now on opposing sides of the house.

The majority of the party's MPs remain in the Prime Minister Edward Natapei's government coalition, while a court ruling on who is the VP leader is pending.

The Speaker, George Wells, says although some MPs are yet to respond to his order, VP's 11 members have all declared their allegiances.

This includes the Tanna MP challenging Mr Natapei for VP leadership, Harry Iauko, who recently assumed the role of deputy opposition leader.

Mr Wells says another VP member has defected to the opposition.

"But all the rest with the current President of the Vanu'aku Pati, honourable Edward Natapei. So Natapei has nine [MPs] altogether. And the court will look at the application filed by Edward Natapei."

George Wells