SURPRISE AS SILAS HAKWA DECIDES NOT TO RUN IN VANUATU ELECTION

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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (April 4, 2002 - VBTC/PINA Nius Online)---As political campaigning gets under way there are questions surrounding why one of Vanuatu's most highly educated parliamentarians is not running again in the coming election.

Silas Hakwa's name was dropped from his constituency on Ambae and replaced by a party colleague who represented the Port Vila constituency in the last Parliament.

According to the Vanua‘aku Party office, Mr. Hakwa did not submit an application and was not endorsed by his constituency.

Mr. Hakwa was instrumental in a number of legal cases leading to the defeat of the Barak Sope Government and the establishment of the Edward Natapei Government last year.

Mr. Hakwa was also replaced as vice president of the Vanua‘aku Party during the party congress on Epi Island.

# Meanwhile, the Electoral Office confirmed that 136 independent candidates have submitted applications to contest the May election, compared to only 58 in 1998.

Of 327 candidates contesting this year, only seven are women.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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