No confidence motion filed against Vanuatu PM Kalsakau

Vanuatu’s Speaker of Parliament has officially confirmed the motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau, submitted on Friday, is in order and will be subject to debate.

According to the Vanuatu Daily Post newspaper, the scheduled date for the debate is set for this Friday, May 19.

The Vanuatu parliament met briefly last Friday to start its first ordinary session of 2023.

Speaker Seoule Simeon clarified since this is an ordinary session, the motion has been deemed acceptable due to the presence of nine signatures endorsing it.

Among the signatories is the leader of the opposition Bob Loughman, who moved the motion, and Marc Ati, who has seconded it.

The no confidence motion against PM Kalsakau is the first since he assumed office office six months ago in a snap election following a motion of no confidence against the then prime minister Louhhman was issued, MPs walked across the floor.

The opposition has cited several reasons for its decision, including concerns over the government’s national priorities outlined in the 2022-2026 plan, allegations of undue influence by government officials, political interference within state institutions, and reports of threats and intimidation targeting public administrations.

“Additionally, the opposition has expressed apprehension regarding the government’s foreign engagements, which they believe may compromise Vanuatu’s independence and sovereignty. Another significant point of contention is the government’s failure to implement policies aimed at addressing the issue of labor and skill drain overseas,” the Daily Post reported.

According to the newspaper, not all MPs within the Opposition bloc have signed the motion.

But the Vanuatu government is confident it has the numbers to retain power in light of a motion of no confidence.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s office confirmed to RNZ Pacific the coalition government is solid.

The current government said coalition leaders have pledged their continuous support until the next election which is in 2026.

RNZ Pacific has reached out contacted the Speaker Seoule’s office for comment.