Vanuatu's new prime minister is promising a back-to-basics approach to running the country.
Veteran Vanuatu politician Joe Natuman has been elected as new prime minister, after Moana Carcasses Kalosil lost a vote of no confidence in parliament.
He won 40 of the 52 votes cast by Members of Parliament and was the only nominee for the post of Prime Minister.
Mr Natuman has told Pacific Beat says many people in the country are concerned about the government's spending.
"In my view, we are doing things which have not been what people expected of our founding fathers," he said.
"Basically, I want us to go back to our roots and redirect the country and ensure that we live within our means."
Who is Vanuatu’s new prime minister?
- Joe Natuman is Member of Parliament for Tanna
- He was private secretary to the country’s first Prime Minister, Father Walter Lini.
- He has served in various governments and held ministerial positions in the ministry of internal affairs, foreign affairs, education, justice and social welfare.
- He has become the first member for Tanna to become Prime Minister.
- He won 40 out of the 52 votes cast by Members of Parliament. He was the only nominee for the post of Prime Minister.
- He is secretary general of Vanua'ku Pati.
Mr Natuman says unnecessary spending has seen the government selling its citizenship and passports, something he wants to review.
He also says he wants to review the funding of a new airport.
Last year, the government signed a deal with a Singapore-based company to build a new international airport and upgrade several regional airports.
As part of the deal, the Vanuatu Government will issue four separate promissory notes guaranteeing the repayment of $350 million if the government, or any future government, breaches the agreement.
Mr Natuman says the way it's being funded is a concern.
"We want a new airport to take long haul aircraft, to increase our tourism, but what I'm opposed to is the promissory note," he said.
"I will have to review it."
Mr Natuman also says he wants to target the use of diplomatic passports, which the government had been accused of selling for up to $US69,000.
"For example if some of these diplomatic passports, people we have not checked properly, and they are getting into the wrong hands," he said.
"And people are quote using diplomatic passports for criminal activities then Vanuatu's name will be tarnished."
|Vanuatu prime ministers since 2008|
|Edward Natapei||September 22, 2008 – November 27, 2009|
|Serge Vohor||November 27, 2009 – December 5, 2009|
|Edward Natapei||December 5, 2009 - December 2, 2010|
|Sato Kilman||December 2, 2010 - April 24, 2011|
|Serge Vohor||April 24, 2011 - May 13, 2011|
|Sato Kilman||May 13, 2011 - June 16, 2011|
|Edward Natapei||June 16, 2011 - June 26, 2011 (acting)|
|Sato Kilman||June 26, 2011 - March 23, 2013|
|Moana Carcasses||March 23, 2013 - May 16, 2014|
|Joe Natuman||May 16, 2014 - |
Joe Natuman's election follows a string of political instability in Vanuatu since the 1990s, which has seen numerous leadership changes and MPs swapping parties.
Moana Carcasses became prime minister in 2013, after joining the Opposition in a no confidence vote to oust then PM Sato Kilman.
Tony Wilson, editor of the Vanuatu Independent newspaper, says the latest change of government has come as a surprise to many people.
"This has been kept extremely quiet," he told Pacific Beat.
"Everyone in the media, and I think even some of the politicians, were in the dark."
Mr Carcasses had faced opposition over a capital investment immigration plan and new road and airport developments.
However, Mr Wilson believes Mr Carcasses' ethnicity may have been a factor.
"I suspect it's because he is not Ni-Vanuatu by birth - he is Polynesian from Tahiti," he said.
"That has been an underlying issue although it's been publically denied."
Mr Wilson says people in Vanuatu are tired of the frequent changes of government.
"They just want to see the government they elect get on and do the business of governing the country," he said.
"The biggest winners after an election change and a reshuffle are the car dealers because all the new officials will insist on new vehicles."