From Vanuatu Daily Post
By Jane Joshua in Port Vila
Lobbying for numbers to form Vanuatu’s next Government is continuing in earnest after the official declaration and the count down before Parliament sits – seven days from today.
Twenty four hours is a long time in Vanuatu politics thus seven days is a very long time.
Apart from the norm “camp” tactics, now more than ever shrewd politicians have to step up their bargaining as ‘horse-trading’ intensifies and will continue to do so in the Parliament chamber.
History has shown MPs crossing floors and switching their allegiances in the last minutes before voting, not a last minute decision but part of the plan.
A bid by the Unity For Change (UFC) bloc and the Leaders Group (LG) led by Tanna elect MP Jotham Napat to sign a memorandum of agreement towards the formation of a coalition government yesterday did not eventuate.
On the same day, the Moderates which included members of the incumbent caretaker government and several newcomers convened to solidify and boost their numbers to form the new government.
Negotiations are going to be tough as the results of the snap election after the dissolution of the 10th Legislature in the aftermath of being governed by a minority government, indicated a fragmented Parliament.
Big names such as the Union of Moderates Party (UMP), Vanua’aku Pati (VP) and the Graon mo Jastis Pati (GJP) all have six MPs each, and the Leaders Group with numbers to be reckoned with also.
The Iauko Grouping and the National United Pati both have four MPs each.
It is early days to be speculating about numbers, however the next few days will indicate the allegiances of these major political groupings and political parties with one, two and three MPs each, all which will decisively result in the formation of the new government.
And when parliament sits the people will finally know who will be holding the reins of leadership in the 11th Legislature.
The onus is on the newly elected 52 MPs to strive for political stability, for the good of this nation.