23 Jun 2011

Vanuatu parliament to elect new prime minister

6:38 am on 23 June 2011

Vanuatu's parliament is today due to elect a new Prime Minister after a series of government changes and legal challenges over recent prime ministerial elections.

The Supreme Court last week appointed Edward Natapei as interim prime minister, after declaring last December's election of Sato Kilman to be null and void.

Johnny Blades reports.

"Vanuatu's constitutional crisis arose after Sato Kilman, as opposition leader, won a vote of no confidence over Mr Natapei, who was then Prime Minister. However Mr Kilman was appointed prime minister without the Speaker following the constitution requirement that he be elected by secret ballot. A string of subsequent votes of no-confidence by the Natapei grouping eventually succeeded in toppling Mr Kilman in late April, whereupon Serge Vohor took over as Prime Minister. However weeks later, the Kilman government successfully challenged the government change in court on a technicality and resumed power until last week's Supreme Court ruling. The changes in government have prompted Vanuatu's President Iolu Johnson Abil, to raise concerns publicly about the instability."