Vanuatu PM sacks ministers to stabilise coalition
The Vanuatu prime minister Joe Natuman says he terminated two ministers yesterday to stabilise support for the government, which now has majority of 28 MPs.
The Vanuatu prime minister Joe Natuman says he dismissed two ministers yesterday to stabilise support for the government, which now has a majority of 28 MPs.
The sackings came amid opposition plans to lodge a motion of no confidence against Mr Natuman.
Two new minister have been appointed - Kalvau Moli replaces Sato Kilman as minister of foreign affairs, and Hosea Nevu replaces Alfred Carlot as justice minister.
Mr Natuman spoke to Hilaire Bule.
JOE NATUMAN: I terminated the minister of foreign affairs, Sato Kilman, because he indicated his interest to join the opposition. Similarly I have also terminated former minister Alfred Carlot as minister of justice and social welfare. We were waiting for him to come so that we can sort out his appointment but he didn't turn up. I'm quite confident that the government will continue to have the numbers to be able to operate during the ordinary session next week. That will probably bring the government numbers up to 28 or 29, which is more than a simple majority for us to deal with government bills in parliament next week.
HILAIRE BULE: You said, prime minister, that the main reason to terminate Mr Carlot is because he didn't turn up. But what is the reason for the termination of Mr Kilman?
JN: He expresses that this government that we have two groupings, one is led by Mr Natapei, honorable Natapei, and the other grouping the leader is honorable Ham Lini. Honorable deputy prime minister Ham Lini informed me that they had lunch with honorable Sato Kilman and honorable Sato Kilman indicated to him that he's not satisfied with the government and he wants to move into the opposition. Although the deputy prime minister tried to persuade him not to do so, he insisted that he would do so. So basically once a minister is no longer willing to work with the government, I have to take a decision, although drastic, to remove him, with a replacement. And that's basically what happened.
HB: Recently we heard about the appointment of the ambassador of Vanuatu in Jakarta, an allegation about Mr Kilman appointing some of the Vanuatu diplomats - did you hear about that?
JN: Yes I heard about an appointment he has done, which is irregular. He bypassed the council of ministers, he decided on his own accord on this important appointment and even risking Vanuatu foreign policy in some areas such as Georgia and Russia. We have a lot of assistance from European Union, and particularly EU has now provided over 200 million vatu, and they probably bring some over 300 million vatu to support our recovery budget. When he did that there was concern in Europe, particularly in Brussels, as to where Vanuatu foreign policy is heading. I will certainly work with the new foreign minister to try to correct some of these mistakes. I am basically removing him because he decided to leave government, whatever reasons, so that's his free will to decide.
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