12 Apr 2017

Vanuatu government numbers strengthened

3:21 pm on 12 April 2017

Four MPs in Vanuatu have crossed the floor strengthening government numbers but still not by enough to ensure proposed constitutional reforms.

Vanuatu parliament building in the capital Port Vila.

Vanuatu parliament building in the capital Port Vila. Photo: RNZI/ Walter Zweifel

The Vanuatu Daily Post reported that Port Vila MPs Ephraim Kalsakau and Seule Kalo as well as Paama MP Alfred Taso and Ambrym MP Albert Williams took part in a kastom mat ceremony with the Prime Minister Charlot Salwai yesterday to formalise the move.

The ceremony also served as a form of reconciliation since three of the four MPs actually deserted Mr Salwai shortly after he survived a motion of no confidence in December last year.

It is understood the move means government now has 32 out of 52 MPs in parliament which is still three MPs shy of the two thirds majority the prime minister needs to bring about his promised constitutional amendments aimed at improving Vanuatu's political stability.

These include rule changes to discourage party hopping by MPs, creating reserved parliamentary seats for women, and changes affecting the way parliament is run.

The proposed amendments had been shelved by Government because of a lack of support from the opposition.

But the latest movements and rumours of others to come could see them retabled.

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