Vanuatu PM

Vanuatu election: Salwai and Regenvanu parties lead in unofficial results

Both Mr Regenvanu's Graon mo Jastis party and Mr Salwai's Reunification Movement for Change party are sitting on eight seats each in the unofficial first count.

These unofficial results have the Vanu'aku Party and the Leaders Party of Vanuatu are close behind on seven seats each.

The preliminary count gives 30 of the 52 seats available to the four leading parties.

Up to 13 other parties and an independent MP appear to have won another 20 seats.

Due to bad weather delaying polling in some constituencies, a number of results are not through yet.

Prime Minister attends China-Pacific Development Forum in Samoa

The forum which took place from 20 to 21 October gathered together leaders, Ministers and officials from the People’s Republic of China, the Cook Islands, the Republic of Fiji, the Republic of Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, the Independent State of Samoa, the Solomon Islands, the Kingdom of Tonga and the Republic of Vanuatu, as well as observers from the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand.

Vanuatu PM denies lack of consultation over proposed reform

Addressing Vanuatu's long running problem of political instability had been a stated aim of prime minister Charlot Salwai's government when he came to power in 2016.

But little has been achieved on this front as the parliament term approaches an end.

However, parliament is convening tomorrow when Vanuatu's government is seeking to pass the Political Parties Registration Act.

Part of a bid to stop frequent changes of government, this would make parties subject to a legal framework.

Vanuatu govt seeks to have parliamentary speakers replaced

The Daily Post newspaper said the first and second motions are against the Vanuaaku Pati Speaker of the House, Esmon Sai and Green Confederation Party Second Deputy Speaker, Daniel Toara and to elect their replacements.

The third motion is to elect the Third Deputy Speaker.

The motions are tabled by the Prime Minister Charlot Salwai.



Vanuatu Opposition Leader files criminal complaint against PM

The move comes a week after an Appeal Court ruled against the Government's creation of Parliamentary Secretaries, declaring them 'void and of no effect'.

Ishmael Kalsakau accuses the government of using the positions to shore up their support and misusing public funds for the salaries.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reported the latest move was in line with his promise to use every legal avenue to ensure that justice was seen to be done.

Mr Kalsakau said he would also file a number of leadership cases after the Independence celebrations are concluded.

Vanuatu opposition calls for PM to resign after court ruling

The Daily Post reports Ishmael Kalsakau saying the prime minister has no power to make the appointments, an argument he says was supported this month by the Court of Appeal.

Mr Kalsakau says it is likely a criminal case will be filed, considering the huge amount of money that was spent on the parliamentary secretary positions since they were created in 2016.

Earlier, the opposition had accused the government of using the appointment of parliamentary secretaries to prop up its majority support in parliament.

Vanuatu PM pleased with NZ climate action

The government last month tabled a bill that would commit New Zealand to carbon neutrality by 2050.

Speaking after a meeting with his counterpart Jacinda Ardern in Wellington on Wednesday, Charlot Salwai said addressing the climate crisis is of great importance to the Pacific.

"It is a very important issue and we are so happy and welcome that the New Zealand prime minister is very supportive to this concern that has been raised by the Pacific Island countries because we are really affected.

Vanuatu Prime Minister to visit New Zealand

“New Zealand and Vanuatu have a long history of close friendship. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Salwai here and discussing further opportunities to strengthen the relationship between our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said.

The relationship between the two countries is underpinned by the successful Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme, tourism links and shared regional interests.

Plan to expand Vanuatu cabinet encounters pushback

Currently, the size of the cabinet can not exceed a quarter of the number of MPs.

However, Mr Salwai wants this to be increased to a third, which means cabinet can be increased from 13 to 17 ministers.

Vanuatu's parliament is to have a special sitting tomorrow to debate the required constitutional amendment.

Tess Newton Cain of TNC Pacific Consulting said Mr Salwai's ostensible reason for the expansion is that some ministers have been assigned too many portfolios, and they need to be divided up to be more manageable.

Vanuatu PM's visit a 'test case' for Australia's relationship with Pacific

The high-level visits come amidst a climate of debate about China's growing influence in the Pacific region, which some close observers and Australia's opposition say is a result of Australia "dropping the ball" on the Pacific.

So the way in which the Australian Government engages with the Vanuatu leader over the next week will come under heavy scrutiny.

One of those closely watching will be lawyer and academic, Dr Siobahn McDonnell, from the Australian National University's College of Asia and the Pacific.