Vanuatu PM Charlot Salwai (LEFT) and new deputy PM Matai Seremaiah (RIGHT)

The Vanuatu Member of Parliament representing Luganville Constituency, Matai Seremaiah, has assumed the role of Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) within the newly elected coalition government led by Prime Minister Charlot Salwai.

PM Salwai announced Seremaiah’s appointment Monday, following his election by parliament last Friday.

During the appointment of the 12 new ministers, the PM had indicated his intention to select his deputy later in the week.

Among the 12 newly appointed ministers, 10 have previous experience as ministers within the coalition government led by Ishmael Kalsakau.

Notable appointments include Ralph Regenvanu, MP for Port Vila, as Minister of Climate Change; John Salong, MP for Ambrym, as Minister of Finance and Economic Management; Matai Seremaiah, MP for Luganville, as both Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, and External Trade; Nako Natuman, MP for Tanna, as Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries, and Biosecurity; John Still Tari Qetu, MP for Ambae, as Minister of Health; John Amos, MP for Tongoa, as Minister of Justice and Community Services; John William Timakata, MP for Shepherds, as Minister of Lands and Natural Resources; Tomker Netvunei, MP for TAFEA Outer Islands, as Minister of Youth Development and Sports; Christophe Claude Emelee, MP for TORBA, as Minister of Education; and Rick Mahe, MP for Santo Rural, as Minister of Internal Affairs.

The two newly introduced ministers are both Malekula MPs: Don Ken, appointed as the new Minister of Public Utilities, and Anatole Hymack, who assumes the role of Minister of Trade and Commerce

Meanwhile, Vanuatu Parliament is set to engage in a debate regarding the motion to suspend and remove Gracia Shadrack, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Malekula constituency today.

Confirmation of this motion’s listing for today’s discussion was provided by the Speaker’s office to the Daily Post Monday.
The office of the Speaker clarified that there is only one motion on today’s agenda. Following the approval of Shadrack’s removal, Parliament will proceed to elect a new First Deputy Speaker.

The motion to suspend MP Shadrack stems from his conduct during the 3rd Extraordinary Session of Parliament on 16 August 2023, when he openly threatened to set fire to the parliament. The former Opposition bloc, now in the Government, perceives Shadrack’s threats as a potential threat to the safety and security of Parliament and its staff.

The motion to suspend and remove Shadrack was listed for debate with the motion of no confidence against then Prime Minister Sato Kilman during the current 5th Extraordinary session of 2023.

This is not the first time that the Malekula MP has faced suspension from Parliament. He had previously been suspended during the last 13th Legislature by the current Speaker of Parliament, Seoule Simeon. His suspension was initially scheduled to end in 2024 when the 13th Legislature was supposed to conclude. However, Vanuatu underwent snap elections last year after the dissolution of Parliament, and Shadrack was successfully re-elected.

The duration of Shadrack’s suspension will be determined by Parliament during today’s proceedings.