25 Oct 2022

Independents, minor parties needed to form Vanuatu government

8:12 am on 25 October 2022
A brief moment of banter between officials.

A brief moment of banter between officials. Photo: VBTC

The results of Vanuatu's snap election have been released, but it is not clear who has come out on top.

The official results have revealed a fractured parliament with seven being the highest number of MPs won by a single party.

The caretaker prime minister and leader of Vanua'aku Pati, Bob Loughman, has secured seven seats and former opposition leader Ralph Regenvanu's Graon mo Jastis Party has four seats.

A commentator on Vanuatu Politics, Dr Tess Newton Cain, said both sides now need to rely on independents and minor parties to form a majority.

"What we can see is that it's a very fractured parliament, I think that the highest number of seats any one party's got is seven, there are two parties, the UMP and the Vanua'aku Pati. They are the two [most] established parties and yet they are still quite small numbers."

Leading up to the release of the official results on Sunday, two coalition groups had formed.

Ralph Regenvanu's coalition claims to have 31 out of 52 seats.

However, some candidates are appearing on the roster for both coalitions and things will not become clear until parliament is called to swear-in the MPs.

It has been confirmed that a woman has been elected for the first time in several years.

Gloria Julia Kings of the Union of Moderate Parties has been elected in Efate Rural alongside two colleagues. She was the fourth of five elected candidates with 1618 votes.

The election was triggered when Vanuatu's Supreme Court dismissed a constitutional application in September challenging the dissolution of parliament.

The 27 opposition MPs had challenged the legality of the dissolution, given a motion of no confidence had been filed against Loughman as prime minister.