11 Feb 2020

Vanuatu govt has not met people's expectations - Koanapo

8:28 am on 11 February 2020

A former member of Vanuatu's coalition government says it hasn't met the expectations people had of them.

Vanuatu parliament buildings

Vanuatu parliament buildings Photo: RNZ/Sally Round

The country is preparing to go to the polls in March, four years after the Charlot Salwai-led coalition came to power in a snap election, promising expansive reforms to bring political stability.

But Johnny Koanapo, who was part of that coalition until his Vanua'aku Pati was reshuffled out of Cabinet last year, said while there had been stability, a lot of promises were not met.

"I mean, frankly speaking, the government did not achieve everything that we wanted to do.

"So yeah, let's be honest, we've achieved some things, our government was stable because major political parties were in power, we defeated a number of motions, but we know there's a lot of things that could still be done."

However, Mr Koanapo said depending on the election results, he would be willing to work with Charlot Salwai again.

Mr Koanapo is preparing to run for a second term for the Vanua'aku Pati in the southern island of Tanna.

The party has been at the vanguard of Vanuatu politics since independence 40 years ago, and has commanded a large share of Parliament since.

But recent elections have seen its majority and influence wane, while younger parties like Graon mo Jastis and the Leaders Party rise to the spotlight.

Mr Koanapo conceded there had been a drop, but he was still confident Vanua'aku Pati was relevant.

"Yes, there's been a decline in the numbers. If you look at the aggregate statistics for the national elections 2016, Vanua'aku Pati still commands 22 percent of the national vote which is by far the biggest."

The party was working on a strategy to ensure its relevance for the future, he said.