Vanuatu leader of Opposition and Member of Parliament for Port Vila, Ishmael Kalsakau, has raised concerns, stating that the Government of National Unity (GNU) is no longer intact.

He said national unity involves everyone working together, which was advocated by the Head of State last year during a meeting with the political leaders.

In a press conference held recently by the Opposition bloc, MP Kalsakau argued that the unity ceased when the Prime Minister (PM), Charlot Salwai, removed two ministers from the Rural Development Party (RDP).

Kalsakau explained that despite the Head of State proposing a GNU, it was never consistently maintained.

The Opposition Leader said in fact, the national unity stopped only when the Head of State was advocating about it last year during their meeting between the Head of State and the political leaders, because, at that time, the Opposition grouping went for the national unity but the government side resorted to the dissolution of the parliament.

The Head of State then opted for what the Opposition grouping said.

He reiterated that the PM’s actions, particularly the removal of ministers, disrupted the unity.

Kalsakau explained that the removal of RDP ministers due to their request for an additional ministerial portfolio was reasonable.

He said the PM could have just refused the request.

Kalsakau criticised the decision to remove ministers, claiming it destabilised the country.

The Opposition Whip, Blaise Sumptoh, added that the continuing reshuffling of ministerial portfolios by the PM contributed to the current instability.

The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), MP Jean Baptiste Tama noted that the country appeared to be at a standstill and moving backward due to ongoing reshuffles.

He expressed concern about the lack of progress and the possibility of another reshuffle next month.

In response to these claims, the PM’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Hilaire Bule, denied that there is no longer a GNU.

Bule pointed out that all political parties in the legislature have their representatives in the government, including Kalsakau’s Union of Moderate Parties (UMP).

He mentioned that despite removing two ministerial portfolios from the RDP, the party still maintains its support for this government.

According to Bule, the RDP President is still serving as the government whip, and another RDP MP occupying the fourth Deputy Speaker position.

The PRO further argued that the presence of only four Opposition MPs is already indicating that PM Salwai is effectively representing the GNU.