Vohor takes Vanuatu's top job but instability expected to continue | Pacific Beat

Vohor takes Vanuatu's top job but instability expected to continue

Vohor takes Vanuatu's top job but instability expected to continue

Updated 15 February 2012, 12:41 AEDT

The sitting of parliament on Easter Sunday was unprecedented, but the result wasn't.

Vanuatu has a new Prime Minister, Serge Vohor.

He takes over the top job after the prime minister of just four months, Sato Kilman, lost a vote of no confidence.

But the vote was close, indicating the political instability is expected to continue.

Presenter:Geraldine Coutts

Speaker:Alain Simeon, Vanuatu reporter

SIMEON: The vote was 26-25, that's not counting the Speaker of parliament, which makes the total of 52. There was any contender for the post of the prime minister, so Serge Vohor was elected universally.

COUTTS: Isn't that a little unusual, they're going to a vote of no confidence to oust the prime minister but they didn't have anyone else in mind?

SIMEON: Well they invoke a vote of no confidence, which was successful, but then the claimant of this wasn't in parliament, did not present in chamber when the election for the new prime minister went, so the opposition had the floor to itself.

COUTTS: Who moved the motion and who was the seconder?

SIMEON: The mover was former prime minister Natapei, he moved the motion and his seconder was former state minister Patrick Crowby.

COUTTS: So where to from here, if it was a close vote does it suggest that after Easter there could be yet another vote of no confidence in the incumbent for the moment, Serge Vohor?

SIMEON: Well as I understand yesterday as soon as Serge Vohor was elected the opposition now led by Sato Kilman, also met to discuss the possibility of filing another motion as early as this week. So yeah as the numbers sits at 27-26 for the government, it is very likely that at any time any of the parties within the government caucus can switch sides and turn the opposition and then make the numbers. So again we would expect something similar to that after the 24th of April. But that's one of the reasons why Sato Kilman was pursuing the option to dissolve the current parliament, because the number of parliamentary seats at the margin with an average of only one MP crossing the floor could cause instability with any government of the day.

COUTTS: Now what does the public think of this, the constant changing of prime ministers and government? I know it's Easter and they're probably a little bit distracted with that, but is there any comment from the public, what do they think about the constant changes?

SIMEON: Well as Sato Kilman was elected December 2nd 2010, there were positive comments about his election as the new leadership within Vanuatu politics, because even though he was in the political arena he was never the prime minister until last December. As soon as Natapei and his caucus opposition ten they filed the first motion, there was a lot of negative comments basically about allowing more time to Kilman to perform. And within the last four months the Kilman government has appointed three different commission of inquiries into three different major institutions in the country, namely a stevedoring company, police, security in the country. So these are signs of what people are expressing, and it is yet to be measured by people whether or not Kilman was performing well, it's too early to say, but a lot of comments that came in within the last four months when he was elected, and as soon as the first motion was filed against him, there was a lot of negative comments from the public on what the opposition was trying to do then. I'm sure as it is a public holiday now we can't get much comment this weekend, but hopefully from tomorrow we could get more and more public comments on what they think about the former government led by Kilman and the new government led by Vohor. And like you said Vohor is not new as a prime minister, he was prime minister twice already.

COUTTS: Well actually this is his fourth time isn't it?

SIMEON: Yes it is his fourth time as prime minister. But with Kilman as a new blood as a new prime minister and what he had done in the last four months, I'm sure there will be a lot of positive comments towards his leadership. As from tomorrow we could know what the public thinks.

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