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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (January 31, 2001 - Radio Vanuatu/PINA Nius Online)---Vanuatu citizens have been urged to stay away from people who may attempt to offer them money for votes during the coming election.

MP and resigning Union of Moderate Parties member Willie Jimmy Tabangararua warned that if people accept bribes Vanuatu will be facing problems similar to those in Fiji in the future.

Mr. Jimmy was speaking during a media conference in Port Vila.

A new political grouping is likely to be formed by the MPs who announced their resignation from the Union of Moderate Parties, he indicated. But he said this will be decided only after consultations with regional presidents.

Mr. Jimmy and fellow MPs Paul Telukluk and Vincent Boulekone have officially tendered their resignations while Honery Taga and Kora Maki have verbally announced theirs while awaiting word from their executives.

Mr. Jimmy said the group has been approached by other groupings for an alliance.

If the group moves from the government side, the coalition government of Prime Minister Barak Sope's numbers drop to 26, against 19 in the opposition.

A senior member of the opposition Vanuaaku Party, Santo Rural MP Sela Molisa, told the Vanuatu Trading Post newspaper that any attempt to challenge the Sope government would not be made until after a by-election in February.

But interim Union of Moderate Parties president Rialuth Serge Vohor downplayed the possibility of the split causing the possible fall of the Sope government. He said the five have resigned as members of the Union of Moderate Parties but from the government.

Mr. Jimmy had said all the members who are resigning from the Union of Moderate Parties are unhappy with the way it is being run under Mr. Vohor's leadership.

Their move was in the best interests of the party and the people of Vanuatu, Mr. Jimmy said.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

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