16 Nov 2012

Lini looms as kingmaker ahead of Vanuatu parliamentary vote

2:43 pm on 16 November 2012

A former Prime Minister has emerged as the pivotal player in the formation of Vanuatu's next government, ahead of the first sitting of parliament.

Two groupings of MPs claim to have a majority - one led by the caretaker Prime Minister Sato Kilman, the other by Edward Natapei's Vanuaaku Pati.

Johnny Blades reports:

"Having publicly announced support for both groupings, Ham Lini's National United Party appears to be wavering between which side to join. The NUP won only four of the 52 seats in parliament at the recent election but Ham Lini is understood to want the position of Prime Minister again. While the Vanua'aku Pati grouping has left the top job open, it's indicated it may be unable to meet the NUP's demands for three ministerial portfolios. A Kilman group spokesman says they have 35 MPs who will sign an agreement to form a coalition government, with Ham Lini slated to be deputy Prime Minister. Mr Lini's ultimate decision will only be known on Monday when Vanuatu's tenth parliament sits to vote for a Prime Minister."