Unofficial Vanuatu election results released
Vanuatu went to the polls on Friday to elect a new 53-member parliament.
The unofficial Vanuatu election results have been released, with some surpises.
The snap election was triggered last month when the president, Baldwin Lonsdale, dissolved parliament to end weeks of political instability following the conviction of 15 MPs for corruption.
I spoke to Jamie Tahana who is in Port Vila.
JAMIE TAHANA: The polls closed at 4.30 on Friday and the results started trickling in within hours of that. But it wasn't until Saturday afternoon that they started to come in fully. The results we do have now are the unofficial results so there could still be close calls - they will still recount and recount again. We should have the proper results in a few days. But the unofficial results so far have indeed revealed a fair few surprises, and Vanuatu's parliament looks like it's going to be about two thirds new faces. So it could be the clean out many people wanted really. Now there were some surprising results. Among the big upsets was in the constituencies of Maewo, one of the more northern islands here, where the former speaker of parliament and long time MP Philip Boedoro, who has been there for years, he has lost his seat to shipping magnate Ian Wilson who stood for the first time and got almost double the votes of Mr Boedoro. In Epi the former justice minister Robert Bohn, who was acquitted in the trial that saw 15 MPs from the previous government convicted. He was convincingly voted out of office by a fair margin. And an opposition politician and the former leader of the opposition in the most recent parliament Ham Lini, also a former prime minister, he was voted out on Pentecost. Now that makes this the first parliament since Vanuatu got independence in 1980 to not have a member of the Lini family. Now some people are back in. Prime Minister Sato Kilman, incumbent prime minister Sato Kilman is back in in Malekula and former PM and incumbent opposition leader Joe Natuman has increased his numbers on Tanna. And in Port Vila you have Ishmael Kalsakau, Kenneth Natapei and Ralph Regenvanu leading the charge there.
MARY BAINES: Have the coalition discussions begun yet and what are we seeing there?
JT: Pretty much they could take up to two weeks but what we do have is that opposition bloc of Ralph Regenvanu's party or the party of Joe Natuman, Kenneth Natapei and a few other more minor parties. They have already pledged to form a bloc to work together to form a government pretty much as a single party. Now they need about six or seven independents to get over the line of that two thirds majority in the 53 seat parliament. We haven't got hold of Sato Kilman or any of the previous government yet but they will no be doubt wrangling for those independents as well. So it's really the independent MPs in this election that have all the power to decide which way the new government will go.
MB: So have you spoken to any observers? How do they think the election has gone - it has been fair and to plan?
JT: They are very satisfied. Yesterday the Commonwealth observers, they commended the Electoral Commission for arranging an election in only a month with their 10 staff and limited resources and they also said it was a very legitimate election, one that Vanuatu could be proud of.
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