Govt 60% behind in school fee payments; UMP commits to coalition; bribery allegation on Epi

Anita Roberts reveals in Daily Post today that the government has only covered 40% of Term 2 school fees (tuition) promised to the Education Services. The remaining 60% of Term 2 and all of Term 3 continue outstanding. These fees were to be covered (in stated islands) by government, as a result of the destructive cyclone which hit Vanuatu a year ago. Not yet. As the Digest now often demands, a comprehensive audit of government financial standing is required when we are being told by the Caretaker PM the country ended the year 2015 with the biggest fiscal surplus ever.

UMP is said to be committed to assist in forming a government when Parliament meets next week, RNZI reports. However, the question of their own leadership continues to get in the way as it did at election time, with their President in gaol — Serge Vohor. UMP’s national executive seems to have other ideas. GJP leader and re-elected MP Ralph Regenvanu, a prime mover in the negotiations on government formation, in speaking to RNZI, was illuminating on this score. He said “unfortunately it seems there is some effort by some parties, particularly people in the UMP and working with people in jail to try and make [the bribery case having run its course] an issue of the new government so that there’s all sorts of rumours of government being formed to pardon them and that kind of thing. But I hope that doesn’t have any more substance than just rumours.”

Radio Vanuatu has led its news today with allegations of bribery Read the rest of this entry »


Election 2016: Can a new coalition government kick-start the economy?

A child in Ipota, Erromango amid the damage caused by Cyclone Pam in March, 2015

A child in Ipota, Erromango amid the damage caused by Cyclone Pam in March, 2015. Photo: EC/ECHO

Analysis by Anna Naupa

This post first appeared in the Lowy Institute’s The Interpreter.

The past year has tested Vanuatu’s economic and political resilience. Following the devastation wreaked by Category 5 Cyclone Pam in the island archipelago in March, economic recovery was elusive and made harder by months of political instability and constitutional uncertainty. October saw 14 members of parliament convicted for bribery, including the deputy prime minister, and an attempt by one of the convicted MPs to grant himself and his associates a presidential pardon. Eventually judicial independence and constitutional integrity won out, but the year’s hardships crippled the functioning of the national administration and delayed the passing of a 2016 national budget.

The snap election on 22 January 2016 promised a new chapter for the country, but it is still unclear whether the election result will facilitate the political stability needed to kick-start economic recovery.

The election embodied Vanuatu’s prevailing political culture: Read the rest of this entry »

Party results – 2016 Vanuatu General Election

Here’s what the 52-seat allocation in the 11th Legislature of the Vanuatu Parliament looks like, following the release of the official election results today:

Seats won per party/grouping, 2016 Vanuatu General Election

Read the rest of this entry »

Unofficial party tally – 2016 General Election

Unofficial count of seats won per party, 2016 Vanuatu General Election


Based on our own count, here’s the unofficial party tally for the 2016 Vanuatu General Election. 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 »

Final candidate list for the 2016 General Election

Lists don’t necessarily make riveting reading, but the final list (declaration 2) of candidates for this month’s election underscores the point Anna Naupa and Nick Howlett made here on the blog earlier today regarding lack of representation of certain sections of the community, notably women. Here’s the final list of 261 candidates for the 2016 Vanuatu General Election:

Ambae Constituency (3 seats)
1 Steven Tahi PPP
2 Peter Vuta VP
3 Michael Liu LDP
4 Alickson Mera NAT
5 Delphine Mera VGA
6 Jacob Mata NAG
7 Nancy Bue Namoli VUERP
8 Hambert Toa IND
9 Richard Mera VP
10 Jay Ngwele IG
11 James Bule NUP
12 James Bani Gwero PAP
13 Dickinson Vusilai IND
Ambrym Constituency (2 seats)
1 Douglas L Tangtang PPP
2 Maki Stanley Simelum VP
3 Bruno Leingkone NUP
4 Pierre David Dah VCRP
5 Peter Bong VGC
6 Joshua Bong UMP
7 Albert Abel Williams GJP
8 Jossie Masmas VRP

Read the rest of this entry »

How representative are our representatives?

The short answer: not very. Averaged out, the 52 MPs elected to Vanuatu’s Parliament in the 2012 general election represent just 10.9% of their constituencies.

Some other interesting statistics:

  • Smallest % of total vote in constituency: MP Kaltaliu SIMION, VP, Malakula, 3.79% of the total Malakula constituency vote.
  • Largest % of total vote in constituency: MP Jonas JAMES, NIPDP, Paama, 42.39% of the total Paama constituency vote.
  • Highest number of votes overall: MP Ralph REGENVANU, GJP, Port Vila, 2,286 votes.
  • Lowest number of votes overall: Minister of Internal Affairs Toara Daniel KALO, VGC, Shepherds, with just 265 votes
  • By overall official number of votes cast, the 52 MPs received 43,313 votes out of a total of 121,792, or 35.56% of the overall vote.

Here’s the results for all 52 MPs, current Cabinet first, other MPs after the jump:

Position Candidate Constituency Party / grouping Official vote count Total no. votes cast in constituency % of total constituency vote
Speaker of Parliament George Andre Wells Luganville PPP 622 5,389 11.54%
1st Deputy Speaker Havo Moli Sale Malo/Aore NAG 815 2,428 33.57%
2nd Deputy Speaker Arnold Thomas Prasad Santo VGC 770 15,892 4.85%
Prime Minister Sato Kilman Malakula PPP 1,022 15,156 6.74%
Deputy PM, Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry Ham Lini Pentecost NUP 1,134 8,414 13.48%
Minister of Finance Charlot Salwai Pentecost RMC 901 8,414 10.71%
Minister of Internal Affairs Toara Daniel Kalo Shepherds VGC 265 848 31.25%
Minister of Public Utilities Harry lauko Tanna IG 1,054 17,050 6.18%
Minister of Foreign Affairs Alfred Carlot Efate NIPDP 1,126 15,427 7.30%
Minister of Agriculture, Livestock Dunstan Hilton Banks/Torres PPP 632 4,651 13.59%
Minister of Education Steven Kalsakau Efate RMC 1,205 15,427 7.81%
Minister of Health Don Ken Malakula PSP 629 15,156 4.15%
Minister of Ni-Vanuatu Business Marcellino Pipite Santo VRP 1,238 15,892 7.79%
Minister of Lands James Bule Ambae NUP 546 5,338 10.23%
Minister of Justice Thomas Laken Tanna IND 890 17,050 5.22%
Minister of Civil Aviation Samson Samsen Santo NAG 1,259 15,892 7.92%

Read the rest of this entry »