12 out of 18 Vanuatu Constituencies wait in suspense as legal battle continues


-The 19 Members of Vanuatu Parliament that have one foot out of parliament after the declaration by the Supreme Court, upholding the Speaker of Parliament’s announcement, but pending the Court of Appeal after the decision was set aside, come from 12 constituencies.

Vanuatu has a total of 18 constituencies.

The 19 MPs were elected in the constituencies of Tanna, Port Vila, Pentecost, Santo, Ambae, Tongoa, Shepherds, Epi, Tafea Outer Islands, Ambrym, Malekula and Luganville.

The first constituency with the highest number of MPs among the 19 is the Tanna constituency where incumbent Prime Minister, Bob Loughman, was elected.

Apart from the PM, the other MPs from Tanna among the 19 are Johnny Koanapo, Nakou Natuman, and Xavier Harry.

Port Vila constituency has two MPs among the 19.

They are Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs, Ishmael Kalsakau and Anthony Harry.

Pentecost constituency also has two MPs, Minister of Health Silas Bule and Marc Muelsul.

The third constituency with two MPs among the 19 is Santo with MP Samson Samsen and Joshua Pikioune.

Ambae is the fourth constituency with two MPs and they are current Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities’ Jay Ngwele and Minister of Trades and Tourism James Bule.

Single MPs from different constituencies that are among the 19 include Tongoa’s MP and current Minister of Agriculture, Willie Daniel, Shepherds constituency’s MP and Minister of Youth and Sports, Willie Satearoto, Ambrym constituency’s current Minister of Climate Change, Bruno Lengkon, Epi constituency’s current Speaker of Parliament, Seule Simeon, newly appointed Minister of Lands and MP for Tafea Outer Islands, Edward Nalyal, Malekula’s MP Edmund Julun and finally Luganville MP and current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mark Ati.

All are currently in a legal battling for their seats after the vacation of seats legislation was invoked by the former Speaker of Parliament.

Meanwhile, the four members of parliament from government that recently joined the Opposition are Efate constituency MP and former Minister of Lands, Jack Norris Kalmet, Ambae Constituency MP John Still, Santo constituency MP Fabiano Stevens and Malekula MP and former Speaker of Parliament Gracia Shadrack.

Three of these MPs were among those that originally walked out with the 19, however, the then Speaker MP Shadrack had announced after the alleged ‘absence’ that they had given their reasons for their actions.

The action of these MPs to defect from the government side may point to the fact that they prefer change to take place within the 12th legislature but not change towards a 13th legislature.

This has increased the number of MPs in Opposition to 21 MPs on the floor and the 22nd MP being overseas receiving medical treatment.

While this move has reduced the number on government side, as of Wednesday there are still 28 MPs in government, plus the Speaker this adds to 29.