MP Ishmael Kalsakau steps down as Vanuatu Opposition Leader amid leadership dispute


President of the Union of Moderate Parties (UMP) and Member of Parliament for Port Vila Constituency, Ishmael Kalsakau, revealed to the Vanuatu Daily Post Thursday that the reason behind his resignation as the Opposition Leader was that he did not want to engage himself in the Opposition leadership rivalry.

“I have resigned as the Opposition Leader, but I will continue to work on issues concerning the welfare of the people of the Republic of Vanuatu,” he said.

“Acquiring a position isn’t a requirement for speaking on behalf of the people. Therefore, although I step down as the Leader of the Opposition, I will still address any issues I deem important and monitor the Government’s operations. I’ll speak out whenever necessary.”

His resignation follows the appointment of the newly appointed Opposition Leader, Member of Parliament (MP) for Malekula, Gracia Shadrack, last month by the Speaker of Parliament, Seoule Simeon.

However, MP Shadrack’s appointment to the role of Leader of the Opposition was deemed “null and void” and having no effect, according to advice from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).

According to MP Kalsakau, there were attempts to challenge him, but he refuses to be associated with such attitude, as he strongly disagrees with it.

“As far as I am concerned, if the other person believes they can do a better job than I can, I cannot stand in their way of reaching that position,” he said.

“If someone wants to be the Leader of the Opposition, they can do so. I took up this position because all of them ran away from it. Now, if someone else wants to acquire the position again, let them try. We will see if there are any results or not.

“Good luck on him, I have nothing against him but for me, I don’t believe in being part of a group involved in such actions that are not proper.”

He added the Deputy Opposition Leader has also resigned yesterday morning. However, the Opposition Whip and the Chairman of Public Accounts remain in their respective positions.

“We will see what is going to happen after, if they remove them that will be the end, if they keep them the decision is on them,” the UMP President said.