Jobs Events Advertise

Vanuatu faces instability amid no-confidence vote delay

Australian Associated Press -

Vanuatu Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau says political instability in the Pacific Islands nation could impact investment and tourism, after his government boycotted a no-confidence vote in parliament.

Vanuatu, at the centre of strategic rivalry between China and Western countries in the region, was plunged into political crisis after Opposition Leader Bob Loughman last week lodged a no-confidence petition with 29 signatures out of 51 MPs - enough to topple the prime minister.

Debate on the motion was delayed until next Wednesday after 26 opposition MPs including the speaker arrived at parliament, and the government said this fell short of the quorum needed.

Kalsakau said in a televised press conference the move against him, eight months after a national election, was "irresponsible" and instability could impact tourism and investment.

The reasons given for removing the prime minister had "no basis", he added.

Loughman has criticised the government for lifting the minimum wage and signing a security pact with Australia, which he says compromises Vanuatu's "neutral" status.

China has been a major infrastructure lender to Vanuatu, donating the parliament building, stadiums and prime minister's office, as well as constructing roads and wharves.

Loughman drew Vanuatu closer to China as the previous prime minister, until his government lost a snap national election in 2022.

The US and its allies are seeking to deter Pacific Islands nations from establishing security ties with Beijing, after China signed a security pact with Solomon Islands.

In a bid to boost government numbers, Jotham Napat stepped down as foreign minister and deputy prime minister on Monday, allowing a cabinet reshuffle that won back two lawmakers.

Kalsakau said the constitution requires an absolute majority for the removal of a prime minister, and Loughman did not have the numbers in parliament on Thursday to debate the motion.

Loughman countered that he had the numbers to form government next week, Vanuatu Daily Post reported.

Underlining China's strategic interest in the region, Chinese navy medical ship, Peace Ark, is visiting Vanuatu to provide medical services to the public, in the sixth visit by a Chinese navy vessel, media reported.

Australian Associated Press


Traditional Owners critical of $28.8million federal funding for Beetaloo Basin research
Traditional Owners from the Beetaloo Basin have criticised the federal government after it confirmed a probe into whether millio...
David Prestipino 21 Feb 2024
"I don't trust the Queensland Police": Mr George's family seeks closure amid ongoing inquest
In the aftermath of Mr George's tragic death in a Kowanyama police cell, recent conversations with a family member highlights th...
Joseph Guenzler 20 Feb 2024
NSW Land Council head urges active participation in crucial election
NSW Aboriginal Land Council chief executive Yuseph Deen has highlighted the vital importance of active participation in influenc...
Joseph Guenzler 20 Feb 2024
PNG PM to face no-confidence motion after deadly riots
Papua New Guinea's opposition party has lodged a motion of no confidence in Prime Minister James Marape after the Pacific Island...
Kirsty Needham 14 Feb 2024

   Australian Associated Press   

Partner sues prisons over Indigenous inmate's death
A woman is suing the NSW prison system and inmate healthcare service over the death in custody of her partner after a coroner fo...
Duncan Murray 15 Feb 2024
Uluru resort could hit the market as owners mull sale
The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation is exploring options for the Ayers Rock Resort, the only place for tourists to stay when...
Rudi Maxwell 15 Feb 2024
Darlington set for National Indigenous Cricket Championships return
Australian international Hannah Darlington is set to return to the National Indigenous Cricket Championships after being selecte...
Callan Morse 15 Feb 2024
Tasmania to field youthful men’s squad at National Indigenous Cricket Championships
Tasmania has announced a youthful men’s squad for this year’s National Indigenous Cricket Championships, the tournament set to t...
Callan Morse 15 Feb 2024