Vanuatu prime minister Sato Kilman. Photo: RNZ Pacific/Hilaire Bule/23100314
The opposition group in Vanuatu appears to have secured the support of more MPs than the government.
extraordinary parliament sitting was called on Monday (Vanuatu time) to debate
a vote of no-confidence in the recently installed Prime Minister, Sato Kilman.
the opposition side 26 MPs turned up but only two government MPs showed face;
Vanua'aku Party MP for Malekula, Esmon Sae, and his counterpart from Malo
constituency, Wesley Rasu.
other 22 MPs loyal to government boycotted the session forcing an adjournment
until Friday due to the lack of a quorum.
started losing support just three weeks after he was installed having himself
defected from former prime minister Ishmael Kalsakau.
week the Minister of Sports, John Tari Qetu, quit and signed the
motion-of-no-confidence that was deposited by the opposition.
promptly replaced Mr Qetu with the MP for Ambrym, Bruno Leingkone.
day later the Speaker of Parliament, Seoule Simeon, declared Mr Leingkone's
parliamentary seat vacant because he had missed three consecutive Parliament
sittings without a leave of absence.
mounted a legal challenge to his dismissal but the Supreme Court on Monday
upheld the speaker's decision and denied an application by Mr Leingkone's
counsel to stay proceedings. The now former MP has indicated he would be
appealing the Supreme Court's decision.
on Monday in parliament the Minister of Trade, Commerce and Tourism, Samson
Samsen was seen sitting with the opposition group.
Friday prime minister Kilman may see his support base reduced even further with
a motion in place to suspend another of his MPs the current Deputy Speaker for
Parliament, Gracia Shadrack.
opposition is accusing the MP for Malekula of making a threatening statement
during a parliament sitting last month.
allege Mr Shadrack threatened to burn Parliament down, when the Speaker refused
to grant permission for Leingkone, who was admitted in a South Korean hospital
at the time, to vote via virtual link on a no-confidence-motion against then PM
leader Charlot Salwai said that Shadrack's actions put the safety of Parliament
and everyone who works in the building at risk.
a press conference on Monday, Salwai said his 26 MPs were “solid” and ready to
topple prime minister Kilman.
the opposition numbers hold until Friday then Kilman could be ousted by a very
similar margin to the one his side registered against the former prime minister
Kalsakau in August.
status quo in Vanuatu will likely continue up until 4 November - marking a year
in the life of the current parliament - which is when the council of ministers
will again be allowed to request the President of the Republic of Vanuatu to
dissolve parliament in the face of ongoing instability or a political impasse.