Vanuatu reunification move the 'end of instability'
Four former Vanuatu Prime Ministers to unite in a single party.
A former Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Edward Natapei, says the reunification plans for four major political parties will spell the end of Parliament's instability.
The Vanua'aku Party, the National United Party, the People's Progressive Party and the Melanesian Progressive Party have decided to fight the next election under one banner, and form a single party by 2020.
Edward Natapei told Alex Perrottet, the move is the will of the people.
EDWARD NATAPEI: We should all come back together and ensure that we bring back the stability to ensure that there is growth in the economy. Now that we are getting on in our years, we should try and bring back some stability and perhaps create an opportunity for the next generation to have something to look forward to, and work together as a united group to ensure we realise the dreams of our forefathers.
ALEX PERROTTET: The four of you, you've all been Prime Ministers at different stages. Is it because now, the personal ambition - as you say you're getting a bit older - is not there and you're more willing to put your personal differences behind you, is that what's driven it?
EN: That is partly one of the reasons. If we left it to the younger generation, they may have their own personal agendas and I think it will be a lot more difficult for them to come together. Rather than wait until that time, we decided we should start working on bringing our people together. You see the division that came about was basically just at the leadership level. But the people in the rural areas, our people in the island, are looking forward to this reunification, and I think they've had enough of instability and the problems that come with it.
AP: And it will foreseeably be quite a power block. If the four parties do come together with such political experience, you'd say you'd be fairly confident in winning government. However, as happens, there are all sorts of things that can happen to cause a member of parliament to cross the floor or to join themselves to a motion of no-confidence. Do you think there are other things needed for stability, apart from a pledge of these four parties to come together?
EN: That is where the political parties integrity bill comes in very useful, because then it will ensure that people are tied down to their own political parties, and if they wish to move they will have to find a different arrangement. But if they come with us, they will be tied down to this political party integrity bill, and that will ensure that at least one party fills the majority and can govern for the entire term of parliament.
AP: Are you supportive of a referendum question in the next election so that the people can definitively say yes, we need a moratorium on motions of no-confidence after a government's elected?
EN: Yes, I've been through the whole lot in my career as a member of parliament. I don't think this country can go through another period of instability. So I support this referendum if it was to bring about the stability that is needed for this country.
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