Vanuatu PM

Vanuatu PM halts repatriations for July

Bob Loughman told the Vanuatu Daily Post since the beginning of the repatriation flights in May - 1,500 citizens and residents had been brought home.

Mr Loughman said all repatriation flight had now been stopped to allow authorities time and space to manage and screen those who had returned so far.

He said a longer term repatriation exercise was being planned for August but there would be no repatriation flights in July.

Review called into controversial Vanuatu citizenship scheme

The scheme allows foreign nationals to obtain a Vanuatu passport for US$150,000, and it accounts for about a third of government revenue.

But it's been criticised by leaders both at home and abroad.

President Tallis Obed Moses last year said the scheme undermined the unity and freedom envisioned by the country's founders.

New prime minister Bob Loughman says he wants more transparency from the programme, adding that its standards need to be improved to create jobs for ni-Vanuatu.

     

Newly-elected Vanuatu PM visits Speaker of Parliament

The visit on Wednesday comes two weeks after Mr Loughman’s election as Prime Minister of the 12th Legislature of the Republic of Vanuatu.

He was welcomed by the Deputy Speakers (DS) of parliament namely, 1st DS Samson Samsen, 2nd Speaker Edward Nalyal, 3rd Speaker Assang Sanick and 4th DS Nako Natuman, before meeting with Speaker Gracia Shadrack.

After the welcome by the Deputy Speakers, PM Loughman was accompanied to the Office of the Speaker for a closed meeting.

     

New Vanuatu PM and team face unprecedented crisis

The veteran politician, Bob Loughman was voted in by fellow MPs Monday and will lead a coalition made of three larger parties and a handful of independent MPs and micro-parties.

Mr Loughman unveiled his new cabinet last night, with 12 ministers including Ishmael Kalsakau, who is the new deputy Prime Minister and also Minister for Internal Affairs.

Mark Ati has been handed the Foreign Affairs portfolio.

While Vanuatu has no confirmed COVID-19 cases, it's borders have been locked down, leaving thousands of people out of work in the valuable tourism sector.

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.

     

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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.