23 Jun 2011

Election of Vanuatu PM adjourned amid bribery claim

1:11 pm on 23 June 2011

The parliamentary vote to elect Vanuatu's new Prime Minister has been adjourned until Sunday after the interim government boycotted today's planned sitting.

The boycott, which ensured there was no quorum, came after the emergence of bribery allegations linked with the opposition led by Sato Kilman.

The interim Prime Minister, Edward Natapei, says yesterday's defection to the Kilman camp by the interim Minister of Agriculture, Samson Samsen, is allegedly the result of a bribe.

Mr Natapei says the Kilman group is staying in a four-star hotel and is believed to have the financial backing of foreign sources.

"Government believes that the best way forward for us is to give us a three day period during which we will investigate these allegations. These are all allegations that we believe need to be dealt with to allow members of parliament to be free to vote with a clear conscience when they elect a new Prime Minister."

Edward Natapei