Vanuatu Parliament

Urge to defect consumes Vanuatu coalition partner

One of the Union of Moderate Parties' six MPs, Tanna MP Robin Kapapa, recently formally defected to the opposition from the Bob Loughman-led government.

The party's non-parliamentary membership is urging the rest of their MPs to follow suit.

The UMP president, former prime minister Serge Vohor, called for a meeting of the party's national executive today to discuss a possible move by all its MPs

However while Vohor reportedly wants the UMP to defect, the party's parliamentary leader, deputy prime minister Ishmael Kalsakau, is opposed to the idea.

Vanuatu MPs sacked from parliament accounts committee

Christophe Emelee is a member of the Vanuatu National Development Party, and Robin Kababa is from the Union of Moderate Parties.

According to RNZ Pacific's correspondent in Port Vila no clear reason was given for the sackings but they have been confirmed by the parliamentary office.

The pair had only been nominated earlier this month by the prime minister.

The Speaker's office has confirmed Mr Loughman has now nominated an Efate MP, Anatol Hymak of Vanuatu First Party, and the MP for Tanna, Xavier Harry of Iauko Group, to replace them.

Vanuatu Parliament to elect Chairpersons

The Opposition side has already nominated its Members of Parliament that will be in each of four committees.

The four committees are Public Accounts, Social Policies, Economic Policies, Constitutional and Institutional Affairs.

Parliament successfully passed the motion of establishing committees and to elect the chair and his vice outside parliament and also to reduced the numbers of standing committees from eight to four.

Vanuatu Opposition taking suspension to court

On Tuesday night parliament voted to suspend the 22 opposition MPs for two sittings, over its boycott of the first sitting last week.

Opposition leader Ralph Regenvanu said the vote by the government members was an outrage.

He said the first sitting had been boycotted many times in the past.

"Boycotting the first sitting of a session is a parliamentary practice in Vanuatu that has been going for 40 years.

Vanuatu parliament suspends opposition group over boycott

The reason given for the suspension was the opposition's boycott of the first session of parliament last week.

The boycott was over the actions of climate change minister Bruno Leingkon.

The opposition said Mr Leingkon came to parliament without isolating himself after entering a hotel where over 100 repatriated Ni-Vanuatu are being quarantined because of Covid-19.

Motion filed to suspend Vanuatu opposition from parliament

Last week the opposition boycotted the first session of parliament for the year in protest over the actions of climate change minister Bruno Leingkon.

The opposition says Mr Leingkon came to parliament without isolating himself after entering a hotel where over 100 Ni-Vanuatu are quarantined.

The motion was filed by deputy prime minister Ishmael Kalsakau and the minister of public utilities Jay Ngwele, who say the opposition should also pay the cost of convening parliament for the day.

The motion is expected to be debated on Thursday.

     

Vanuatu parliament sit today to form a coalition govt

The Vanuatu parliament will sit for the first time since the election today, where a new coalition government will be formed.

A massive rebuild lies ahead in the wake of the extensive destruction caused by Cyclone Harold, and the country's tourism-dependent economy has been shattered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Johnny Koanapo, whose Vanua'aku Pati has signed an agreement with the previously opposition Union of Moderates Party, said whichever bloc forms government has a massive task.

Vanuatu's former Speaker of Parliament acquitted of criminal charges

According to the Vanuatu Daily Post, the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Seule was guilty of charges relating to an incident involving Fredeline Tanarango in a Hotel Santo room.

Mr Seule was the MP for the Efate outer islands.

Despite the legal clearance, there has been no confirmation yet if he intends or will be able to contest the 2020 general election.

     

Vanuatu's former PM Natuman seeks re-entry to Parliament

Joe Natuman is one of over 250 applications for candidacy submitted to Vanuatu's Electoral Commission.

Mr Natuman, who was convicted for perverting the course of justice, is approaching the end of his suspended two year sentence.

According to the Vanuatu Daily Post, his sentence is to end shortly before the election date, 19 March.

The Chair of the Electoral Commission, Martin Tete, is seeking advice from the State Law Office as to Mr Natuman's eligibility as a cadndiate.

The former prime minister applied as a candidate under the Vanua'aku Pati banner.

Vanuatu Parliament dissolves ahead of election

This week also marks the beginning of a period for candidates to register for the election, the first since a constitutional crisis of 2016.

At the stroke of midnight last night, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai achieved the rarest of feats in Vanuatu - he survived a full four-year term in office.

The last to do so was Ham Lini, more than a decade ago.

Mr Salwai formed a coalition in the wake of a snap election called after half the previous government was jailed for corruption.