17 Jun 2011

Frequent leadership changes in Vanuatu shows MPs under pressure to join government

2:00 pm on 17 June 2011

A public policy analyst in Vanuatu says one of the reasons that the leadership of the country changes hands so often is because of the relationship voters have with their MPs.

Vanuatu's Chief Justice has appointed Edward Natapei as interim prime minister, after declaring last December's election of Sato Kilman to be null and void, making it the country's fifth leadership change in ten months.

The executive director of the Pacific Institute of Public Policy, Derek Brien, says a lot of parliamentarians have no problem swapping parties because their strongest connection is with their constituents.

"The relationship between people in the community, the voters and the MPs is one of patronage - that in itself puts the pressure on MPs to deliver and often the perception is that to deliver you have to be in government."

Derek Brien says there's little appreciation of the role of opposition and the whole focus of people in opposition is to get into government, rather than holding the government to account.