Vanuatu: PM sacks three ministers

Tuesday July 29, 2014 Written by ABC?RNZI Published in Regional

Vanuatu prime minister Joe Natuman has suspended three government ministers after they reportedly backed a plan to move a motion of no confidence.

 

It is believed Opposition members, with support of their leader Moana Carcasses, had been planning the vote for over a week.

However they lacked the numbers to form a majority so did not proceed with the motion.

“In the end, it fizzled out basically,” said Tony Wilson, editor of the Vanuatu Independent.

He told the ABC the prime minister’s response was unusual but one that could play well with voters as a sign of strong leadership.

“To pull such a move as this he has to be pretty confident he has the numbers.”

Natuman was elected prime minister in May after successfully defeating Carcasses in a no confidence vote.

Natuman says he had to take action: “I had to bring back discipline. If members of the current government are going to the opposition and trying to get other members of government to sign motions, I’ll just sack them. It’s as simple as that. And that’s what happened.”

The three MPs cut from the coalition are Marcellino Pipite, Samson Samsen and Tony Nari.

Natuman would not comment on reports Carcasses has been offering financial incentives to MPs to sign the motion.

He said parliament will next meet on Thursday to discuss the supplementary budget and a plan for major airport developments.

Natuman also said Vanuatu’s Independence Day yesterday was a good time to reflect on how far the nation has come and what needs to be done to make it stronger in the future.

He said the country has come a long way since colonial rule, now having its own currency, airline, a unified parliament and one school, health and police system.

But he says there is still more work to be done.

“There is no quick way to build prosperity, you have to build your economy, develop your land, you have to develop your fisheries.

“In the last government there was a lot of selling of passports and citizenship, I will be reviewing those.”

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