How to vote in the 2016 Vanuatu General Election

"One person can make a difference, and everyone should try" —John F. Kennedy

We’re not going to actually tell you who to vote for, of course… but in the interests of all of Vanuatu’s people, please:

  1. Don’t vote for politicians like the criminal ex-MPs currently in prison.

    Their kind have failed this country and its people. We can do much better. We need leaders, not takers — vision, not greed.

  2. Vote in the national interest, not your own personal interest.


This is Vanuatu’s chance for a fresh start —

will you help?


Transparency Vanuatu’s post-election ‘to-do’ list; Vanuatu aviation students expelled due to non-payment by Vanuatu Govt

A public service announcement published by Transparency Vanuatu for the 2016 General Election

A public service announcement published by Transparency Vanuatu for the 2016 General Election. Photo credit: Transparency Vanuatu

With 14 MPs from the just disbanded Parliament in prison, and just 20 hours left before Vanuatu voters choose those who will form a new one, Transparency Vanuatu is calling on voters to ensure MP integrity and support for the rule of law. Transparency sees a need for substantial reforms in the political system to make Parliamentarians more representative and responsible to the citizens of this country. Regulation of political parties through new legislation to control political finances, accurate updating of the electoral roll and putting the voting system beyond abuse are seen as essential. But TIV’s Dr Willie Tokon adds revision of the parliamentary standing orders, regulations concerning MP allocations, and rules about no-confidence motions must also be considered essential. Last, but not least, TIV’s Chairman insists the Right to Information Bill gets enacted and the Ombudsman Act and Leadership Code are expanded.

The large number of election observers reflects the widely held view that we have left many of the items on the TIV “to do” list for rather too long a time. Election observers represent the Commonwealth, Forum Secretariat, MSG, EU, Australia, New Zealand, China the UK and USA, Daily Post points out this morning. The Dept. of Internal Affairs’ Cherol Ala yesterday told of the immense task in organizing the snap election in such a very short time. There was the added difficulty of the Principal Electoral Officer being taken seriously unwell in the midst of the huge preparations. However, apart from the difficulties perceived on Tanna the electoral process has run smoothly over very long days. Tomorrow will be the longest. 262 candidates are contesting and 200,159 voters should be deciding who best can achieve what Dr Tokon has asked for.

The bottom line: 14 MPs being in gaol and staying there might suggest it is time we have to know and trust those for whom we are voting.

The Melbourne, Australia Weekly Times newspaper has pointed out Read the rest of this entry »

Convicted MPs launch new musical career on Facebook

Brace yourselves Vanuatu, the 14 convicted criminal ex-MPs currently serving time in the Women’s prison have found a new way to pass the time while incarcerated.

Moana Carcasses is rumoured to be the lead singer…

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 10.58.18 AM

Electoral Commission dismisses Tanna concerns; President calls on all voters to take part; electoral roll grows

Get out and vote!The Electoral Commission has spoken out concerning worries expressed by certain political parties on Tanna about amended proxy voting conditions. Proxy vote categories 4 to 6 became effective January 13 and closed on January 15. The Tanna candidates or parties taking exception to the proxy changes claim another political party had more chance to take advantage of the new conditions. The Electoral Commission, however, says adequate notice was given. The SG of Tafea Province agrees. VMF officers are providing additional security on Tanna for the duration of the elections.

The Commonwealth election observer team has called on all eligible voters to cast their votes on Friday. President Baldwin Lonsdale, too, has urged eligible voters to Read the rest of this entry »

Election observers ready for Jan. 22 General Election

Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham, Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group

Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham, Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group

The Chairman of the Commonwealth Observer Group for the election, Hubert Ingraham, the former Bahamas PM, has promised the media the group will observe the election and comment on factors which could impinge the electoral processes. “This includes observing the pre-election environment, polling day and post election period”, he made clear. “The country has committed itself to democratic electoral standards”, he reminded everyone. Members of the Commonwealth Observer Group, Pacific Islands Forum and MSG observers gathered last evening after a press conference in order to meet Read the rest of this entry »

Is dual citizenship a threat to Vanuatu? No, but unregulated political financing is

By Anna Naupa and Nick Howlett

Part 3 of a 3-part series on Vanuatu’s Electoral Integrity

< Read Part 1: ‘Ghostbusters: it’s time to deal with Vanuatu’s phantom voters’

< Read Part 2: ‘Is diversity of political representation possible in Vanuatu?’


Vanuatu passportThis month marks the two-year anniversary of the constitutional amendment to permit dual citizenship in Vanuatu.

In the run-up to the 2016 General Election, some political campaigns have cast dual citizenship as a threat to Vanuatu, and have questioned whether this policy risks political domination by foreigners.

But is Vanuatu’s democracy really at risk of being dominated by foreigners acquiring dual citizenship? The short answer is no. However, when it comes to the financing of political candidates and parties in Vanuatu, foreign involvement in politics is completely Read the rest of this entry »

Three Vanuatu personalities dead – Heather Lini-Leo, Philip Kating, Mavis Salt

Deaths top the news stories today …

Heather Lini-Leo

Heather Lini-Leo. Photo: British Friends of Vanuatu

Heather Lini-Leo Matas died at the weekend. She was Vanuatu’s first indigenous female lawyer. Wife of Ombudsman Kalkot Mataskelekele, Heather (sister of the first PM Walter Lini and eighth of ten Lini children from North Pentecost) was most recently serving as the principal legal officer in the National Provident Fund (VNPF). She had held a wide variety of senior legal positions in government. She studied law in PNG, Australia and the United Kingdom. A funeral service is planned for Wednesday morning at 7 at the Anglican Church, Tagabe, and the body will be flown to Pentecost for burial.

Philip Kating

Philip Kating. Photo:

Vanuatu’s first professional boxer, Philip Kating, passed away midday Sunday after an injury caused by another person. Kating, now believed to be in his sixties, held a number of Pacific titles and turned professional in Fiji in 1980. He won the only gold medal for the New Hebrides — as we still were — in the Guam South Pacific Games in 1975, earning himself the title of Golden Boy.

Anglican missionary teacher Mavis Salt passed away earlier this month in the United Kingdom. She was the last of a long line of such professionals from the times when the mission was based on Norfolk Island. Mavis Salt’s last position was as principal of the Torgil Training Centre for girls at Lolowai, Ambae, from 1955 to 1976. Indeed her house at Lolowai had originally been used by the Mission on Norfolk Island and later accompanied the Mission to Mota before coming to rest on Ambae. A number of women in Port Vila still remember Mavis as “my teacher”, the dedicated trainer ensuring those who could benefit from more extensive training in education continued at the Kawenu Teachers’ Training College in Vila. Mavis Salt will be cremated at Yeovil in the UK on 22 January. A memorial service has already been held.

All electoral campaigns for the 2016 snap election close tomorrow. Voting is on Friday.