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Longtime politicians Jimmy, Sope appear out

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 3, 2008) – One of Vanuatu’s longest serving politicians, who appears to have lost his seat in the country’s elections, says the people have spoken.

The country voted on Tuesday local time to elect members to its 52 seat parliament, but it will be some days before official results are released.

Early unofficial results suggest that Willie Jimmy, the serving minister of finance, who has been an MP for more than 20 years, has been ousted.

He says there’s a mood for change, especially amongst the youth, and he hopes it will benefit Vanuatu.

"The will of the people has spoken, the judges have made their decisions, and I believe that the decision that was taken by the people was fair, because of democracy that we believe in, and that’s how it stands, and we stand by it."

Willy Jimmy says the move by his party, the National United Party, to stand 2 candidates in the Port Vila constituency was his downfall, because it split the vote.

Meanwhile, other unofficial results suggest another veteran, former Prime Minister, Barak Sope has also lost his seat.

While results are continuing to come in, independent candidate Ralph Regenvanu appears to have won the most votes in the Port Vila constituency, which elects 6 MPs overall.

The leader of the Green confederation, Moana Carcasses, and the head of the Vanuatu republican party, Maxime Carlot Korman have been returned in the capital, along with the sitting deputy Prime Minister, Edward Natapei.

However, other results fr outer provinces are still coming through and an official count won’t begin until all the ballot boxes have been returned to Port Vila.

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