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Vanuatu’s new PM calls for unity

Friday 12 February 2016 | Published in Regional

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PORT VILA – Charlot Salwai is to become Vanuatu’s 11th prime minister.

Salwai was elected unopposed on Thursday with 46 of the 52 MPs voting for him with six abstentions.

Salwai is from the Reunification of Movements for Change (RMC) party, part of what has become known as the Pele Group for their seclusion on Pele Island to build a coalition after last month’s election.

The newly-elected Prime minister thanked political leaders for their confidence and trust, saying it had been a privilege for him to work with former prime ministers before he himself became a Member of Parliament in 2002.

As an advisor before entering parliament, Salwai was the private secretary to former prime minister Carlot Korman.

He called on the unity of the nation to carry out development projects to help people on its many islands, saying that the results of snap elections had sent a clear message of change with the election of many new MPs.

Vanuatu’s legislature was dismantled in late 2015 after 14 members were jailed for bribery.

A former accountant and chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Salwai is the member for the island of Pentacost.

He has also served as a deputy opposition leader, an opposition whip, and as a minister in internal affairs, finance, education, lands and trades.

The speaker, Esmon Saimon, and deputy speakers have also been appointed, 20 days after the snap election was held.

Salwai has appointed former prime ministers Joe Natuman as deputy prime minister and trade minister, and Ham Lini to the climate change portfolio, but also include many newcomers in his Cabinet.

Salwai, has stressed the importance of unity among the country’s politicians.

According to Salwai, the outcome of last month’s snap election, which saw a large number of upset results, has sent a clear message for change to be made.

He said that unity is vital if the government is to achieve its aims.

“Unity is very important at all levels, in national development, in provisional development, in island level and also in village level. This is important, this is the force that we can have to work together that can provide security for development.

- PNC sources