New prime minister for Vanuatu
Vanuatu elects a new prime minister as the parliament meets for the first time since last month's snap electon.
Vanuatu's MPs have elected Charlot Salwai as prime minister as parliament met following last month's snap election.
Mr Salwai was the only one nominated for the post but the constitutional requirement was that a secret vote still be held.
He got 46 of the possible 52 votes.
Johnny Blades has been following the developments and Don Wiseman asked him about Mr Salwai.
JOHNNY BLADES: He was elected unopposed. I suppose that is a sign that this lobbying in the week or two ahead of this vote was quite comprehensive in terms of this bloc that had formed around some of the major parties like the Vanua'aku Party and the Graon mo Jastis Pati who both had six MPs each. That was the equal highest as well as the Union of Moderates but their commitment to this bloc actually is unclear. But most of the parties with more than one seat were all in this bloc. And they had nominated Charlot Salwai as a sort of a middle choice, even though his party, the Reunification of Movements for Change only had three but I think he is seen as a steady hand and a middle choice.
DW: He's been around for a long time, we don't know a great deal about him - I know he has been a cabinet minister, kept his nose clean.
JB: Yes he's seen as a clean operator and a capable minister. He has had the finance portfolio and the education portfolio before.
DW: This government, or this coalition which has been building since the snap election, it wanted 36 MPs in the 52 member parliament because it wanted to see constitutional change to bring stability and I guess change the whole political make up in a way or political attitude in Vanuatu. It doesn't look like they got those 36 votes though does it?
JB: No, just a bit shy of that mark of two thirds of the 52 seat parliament needed as you suggest, which is needed for constitutional change to bring in the political reform that key players in this new government emerging, that they have clearly signalled they want to usher in. Because without it, there might be still more instability to come. We have watched so many Vanuatu parliaments emerge and motions of no confidence just come up willy nilly. It's just been the way parliamentary politics is driven there. So this will be interesting to see whether they can lure a few more MPs across that two thirds number and move political reform soon.
DW: One of the urgent issues facing them is what to do about Bauerfield Airport. They've got this money on offer from the World Bank for some emergency repairs. It's a matter for this government quickly getting onto that, isn't it. Do we know when it is going to be able to sit down and talk about that?
JB: There was a signal that they will do it as soon as they can. I think it will be before the week's out that they will approve this World Bank assistance package to urgently upgrade Bauerfield's runway. In fact the World Bank has sent a technical team this week to get on with this sort of job. This is an emergency rehab which would see them through for the next few months until the proper job is done. But that is a matter of huge urgency since those major airlines decided to suspend flights to Vanuatu because of concerns about the condition of the runway, the safety of that runway. So that's something the new parliament will have to do as soon as possible but of course the first order of business was getting a speaker elected and a prime minister, and all those formalities out the way, and now that's done they will look to get down to that (runway matter) as soon as possible.
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