NIUE GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP STRUGGLE

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ALOFI, Niue (April 24, 2002 – Niue Economic Review)---Intense political jostling by three political factions on Niue is delaying the selection of a speaker and premier in the island's 20-seat Legislative Assembly.

It could be next week before lobbying is completed.

Political commentators report that the current situation is a result of party politics in the world's smallest state.

There were no Legislative Assembly seat changes in the weekend general election. All sitting members were returned to office.

Earlier this week, the Alliance of Independents team met with highest common roll poller Toke Talagi in a bid to overthrow the Niue Peoples Party. However, sources say personality differences put a damper on that coalition, which would have seen Mr. Talagi become the country's leader with a majority of one.

The ruling Niue Peoples Party is believed to be in turmoil as previous Premier Sani Lakatani is reported to be facing a challenge from his deputy, Young Vivian, who is apparently facing his final three years in politics and wants a shot at the top job.

Some assembly members have changed allegiances, adding complexity to the factions lobbying.

NPP members met in the village at Liku last night to try and resolve the conflict.

Key players in the leadership struggle are keeping their cards close to the chest, refusing to make any public comments.

Final Count

The Electoral Office has issued the final results for the general election held Saturday.

Toke Talagi tops the poll with 444, Sani Lakatani 427, Terry Coe 399, Michael Jackson 392, Mrs. O'Love Jacobsen 370.

For additional reports from the Niue Economic Review, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Magazines/Journals/Niue Economic Review.

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