Defection of Government MPs to Opposition prompted by MP salary increase proposal

Vanuatu Parliament chamber

Ephraim Kalsakau and Fred Tasso, MPs from the Workers Party for Vanuatu Development, have defected to the Opposition, bringing Opposition numbers to 10. PM Salwai’s coalition government remains strong however with 42 MPs total. The two departing members claimed PM Salwai had broken promises, but claim that the Government’s move to increase MP salaries, while worker’s wages remain stagnant, was what ultimately prompted them to shift allegiances. They said they were to be offered the position of Parliamentary Secretary for Labour on three occasions, but this never eventuated. They also claim insufficient consultation before Government agreed to sign the PACER Plus agreement. Government PRO Hilaire Bule countered that the two MPs had originally joined the Government side at their own request, not because they were invited to do so by the PM.