Vanuatu opposition files motion of no confidence

THE Leader of the Opposition in Vanuatu has this morning filed a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister Charlot Salwai.

Ishmael Kalsakau said he had secured the support of 22 opposition MPs and 8 government MPs for the motion in the 52-seat parliament.

There have been multiple unsuccessful attempts previously to try and remove Salwai and last week, amid rumours of an impending vote, he expressed confidence he had the backing of 35 MPs.

But Kalsakau said an extraordinary sitting of parliament has been requested for November 29 to hear the motion.

“Automatically in my view, government comes to a standstill as the prime minister remains in office but he ceases to hold office until the motion is disposed of.

“There are 30 members of parliament who signed. There’s 22 opposition (MPs) and eight who were in government.”

The motion cites 16 reasons why the MPs have lost confidence in Salwai’s leadership, Kalsakau said.

This includes the government’s increase of Value Added Tax, delays in the rehabilitation of the international airport runway, the handling of the Ambae Volcano disaster and failure to address the case of convicted former deputy prime minister Joe Natuman.

Four government MPs said on Thursday that they wrote a letter to the Speaker of Parliament saying their signatures on the document had been forged.

But Kalsakau said all MPs who signed this motion had also been asked to sign assertations to prove they had done so voluntarily and also acknowledging that they would be liable for investigation by the Leadership Code Commission if they reneged.

“When we are doing something as members of parliament that results in the incurrence of costs from the public purse members of parliament should start realising and appreciating that they have to be responsible and if not become liable for the waste of public money,” he said.