Charlot Salwai was yesterday elected the new prime minister of Vanuatu following a snap election sparked by a corruption scandal. Mr Salwai, from the Reunification of Movements for Change party, was announced as leader some three weeks after more than 200,000 voters went to the polls. It followed parliament being dissolved in November by President Baldwin Lonsdale when 14 MPs were jailed for bribery. There are 52 members of parliament. The political breakdown came after a period of instability, with four changes of prime minister in the past four years.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Vanuatu.
Vanuatu: After election, parties, independents scramble to form coalitions to form viable government | ABC
Vanuatu’s Electoral Commission has confirmed the major political parties have been largely wiped out following the country’s snap election. The official results show 17 parties had been elected, but none had secured more than six seats in the 52-seat parliament. Caretaker Prime Minister Sato Kilman is the only member of his People’s Progress Party remaining in parliament following the January 22 polls. Former prime minister and National United Party leader, Ham Lini, narrowly won his seat after a recount of the votes. The elected parties and eight independent members have three weeks to negotiate to form a coalition government.
A newly-elected MP for Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila, says he is confident the multi-party bloc he is part of will get the numbers needed to form the next government. Kenneth Natapei, the son of the recently-deceased former Prime Minister Edward Natapei, was elected to one of the town’s six seats in snap elections on Friday. His Vanua’aku party has entered into a bloc with several other parties, including the Graon mo Jastis Pati and National United Party, to try to gain the majority needed to form a government and make constitutional changes hoped to end years of political instability. Mr Natapei says the bloc needs to win the support of some independent MPs to form a government, but he is confident that will happen and that it will last a full term.
More than 200,000 voters across Vanuatu have cast their ballots in a snap election that international observers have described as successful despite challenges in the lead-up to the polls. The country’s Parliament was dissolved in November by President Baldwin Lonsdale after 14 MPs, including a former prime minister, were jailed for bribery. The political breakdown in Port Vila followed a period of instability with four changes of prime ministers in the past four years. A total of 264 candidates are vying for 53 seats, with foreign election observers remaining in Vanuatu until Monday.
Voters in Vanuatu go to the polls on Friday for a snap general election called after 14 government MPs were jailed for corruption. A total of 264 candidates, standing in 52 seats, have had little more than seven weeks to campaign. Most are members of 36 political parties, many of which have formed in the lead-up to the election. There are still more than 50 independents in the mix. Observers have said one of the issues with the snap poll was that there were thousands of dead people still eligible to vote — some reports claiming as many as 55,000 registered voters were no longer alive.
The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu goes to the polls Friday despite thousands of newly eligible voters being unable to cast a ballot in the snap election called after a corruption scandal rocked the government. A lack of time since the vote was called in late November meant the electoral rolls could not be updated, Electoral Commission chairman John Killion Taleo, told AFP Wednesday. Radio New Zealand reported Wednesday more than 3,000 young people were not on the electoral roll. Only the 200,159 people on the electoral roll last July will be allowed to cast a ballot. The 52-member parliament was dissolved in late November by President Baldwin Lonsdale after 14 lawmakers were jailed for bribery in the impoverished Pacific archipelago.
The president of the organisation Vanuatu Youth Against Corruption, Priscilla Meto, says more than 70 percent of people who turned 18 after the last election in 2012 will be unable to vote on Friday. She says this is because the nature of the snap election means the Electoral Commission has been unable to issue new electoral cards to many of those people. Ms Meto says this is unfair as it means more than 3,000 young people will not be able to exercise their right to vote, and will have to wait until 2020 to be heard. “It will be very unfair because most of the youth will not be casting their vote to participate in this election to show what they want during this snap election.”
Campaigning is officially underway in Vanuatu’s snap election set for January 22 amid confusion over the number of candidates taking part. Parliament was dissolved and elections announced late last year after 14 of the Government’s MPs were jailed in October to serve three-to-four-year jail terms, thus losing their seats in accordance with the constitution. More than 250 potential candidates applied to contest the election’s 52 seats, but many are yet to be approved — prevented from taking part until they repay government debts. Parties and candidates should have settled any outstanding monies owed to the Government, or its agencies, and receipts of payment provided to the Electoral Office earlier this week.
The chairman of Vanuatu’s Electoral Commission says he’s told political leaders that the country critically needs a new electoral roll for the next general election. The Commission’s official number of registered voters in the recent general election – over 192,000 – is believed to be a huge inflation of the real number of eligible voters. The chairman John Taleo says the blowout is partly explained by that fact that changes to the voter circumstances, such as people moving to different islands or overseas, or people dying, are often not recorded properly.
18 women have shown their interest to run as candidates in Vanuatu’s general elections in two months time. Since independence in 1980, only five women have been elected as members of Vanuatu’s parliament. Midwife Rose Nabong, from the island of Ambrym in central Vanuatu, told the ABC it is important for Vanuatu’s women to break down barriers. “I think for the good of mothers who have needs in the grassroot we should break that barrier to be spokesmen for the women in grassroot level,” she said.