Vanuatu govt boycotts parliament, delays leadership challenge

The extraordinary sitting was called to debate a motion-of-no-confidence in prime minister Sato Kilman with the opposition claiming to have the support of 27 MPs to the government's 24.

The boycott on Monday effectively buys Kilman's camp more time to lobby support especially in light of the government having had one MP removed from parliament and another facing a potential suspension.

Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court upheld the recent dismissal of government MP Bruno Leingkone by the speaker of parliament.

Political impasse emerges in Vanuatu's parliament

The house has 52 seats so 27 MPs is the minimum support a prime minister needs to hold onto power.

However, one seat is currently vacant and there is an MP currently overseas seeking medical treatment.

As of today the government led by Ishmael Kalsakau has the support of only 26 MPs and the opposition led by Bob Loughman only have 24.

Intense lobbying will be taking place right up until parliament sits on Wednesday next week at 2pm local time.

An attempt by the opposition to move the motion on Thursday morning was boycotted by government.

Former Fiji PM Frank Bainimarama resigns from Parliament

Bainimarama, who was the opposition leader, made the announcement via a five-minute video on Facebook on Wednesday.

He said his suspension on February 17 was "unwarranted and most certainly unjustified".

"I did not swear nor did I make any racist or divisive comments," he said.

Vanuatu extraordinary parliament sitting deferred

Parliament was scheduled for a special sitting on Tuesday to debate and approve the national budget.

RNZ Pacific reports Speaker Simeon Seoule was forced to postpone the session as several MPs remain stranded in their constituencies following back-to-back cyclones last week.

Meanwhile, Air Vanuatu has resumed its domestic flight services.


Photo file RNZ Pacific   Caption: Vanuatu Parliament 


Former Fiji PM Bainimarama suspended for breaching parliamentary privilege

It comes after the former prime minister said the President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere had failed to protect the Constitution and the rule of law in his opening statement for the 2023 parliamentary session on Monday.

The FijiFirst leader will be out of Parliament until 17 February 2026, after a midnight vote as both sides of the House clashed over Bainimarama's suspension.

Leader of government business Lynda Tabuya said Bainimarama's words "denigrated" the Head of State when he uttered "seditious words".

Vanuatu Opposition to stay away from Parliament again

Opposition Leader Ralph Regenvanu confirmed the Opposition will not attend the sitting.

He made the comment after the Opposition and several Government MPs did not attend the special sitting last Friday where the Government was going to table amendments to the Constitution.

RNZ Pacific reports Prime Minister Bob Loughman's government needs the support of 34 MPs out of 52 to make changes to the country's constitution.

Vanuatu Constitutional amendment: Parliament adjourned due to lack of quorum

The Government was hoping to debate and pass 16 amendments to the Constitution in the special sitting.  

Only 31 Members of Parliament on the Government side were present.

A majority of the 52 MPs is required in order for the government to pass the Bill for the Constitution (Eight) (Amendment) Act No. of 2022.

Nine MPs in the Opposition bloc boycotted Parliament today and nine RMC MPs were absent this morning.

Prime Minister Bob Loughman needs 39 MPs which is the required two-thirds under the Constitution to pass the Constitutional amendment in Parliament.

Constitutional overhaul planned in Vanuatu

One of the amendments is to extend the term of parliament to five years from the current four.

It will also include a new definition of what constitutes the '"people of Vanuatu."

This aims to encompass indigenous and naturalised citizens and the descendants of naturalised citizens.

The changes will allow cabinet to be increased to 17 members from 13.

Another feature of the amendments would be to allow those with dual citizenship to hold public office, in certain circumstances which are in the public interest.

Speaker of Vanuatu Parliament summons MPs

There are 16 government bills to be debated.

One of these is a Supplementary Appropriation of VT1.2 billion, approximately $US10.5 million for 2022.

The biggest portion of the supplementary budget - VT344 million - will be spent on the Vanuatu Tourism Assistance Program: Phase 2 (2022-2024).

The Replenishment of Emergency Budget totals VT200 million, followed by the Refund Feeder Road Project with a total amount of VT100 million.

South Africa parliament fire flares up again

Flames were seen billowing from the building's roof on Monday, as firefighters tried to douse the blaze.

The fire first broke out on Sunday and completely destroyed the National Assembly, or lower chamber.

Police have arrested a suspect who will appear in court on Tuesday on charges of arson, housebreaking and theft.