Vanuatu president dissolves parliament – ‘respect it’ plea by Loughman

Vanuatu President Nikenike Vurobaravu
President Nikenike Vurobaravu ... signed off the dissolution of Parliament on the eve of a no confidence vote in the prime minister. Image: Vanuatu govt

By Koroi Hawkins, RNZ Pacific journalist

The president of Vanuatu has dissolved the country’s Parliament just over halfway through the current four-year-term.

President Nikenike Vurobaravu signed the instrument for the dissolution of Parliament this afternoon on the eve of a proposed motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Bob Loughman that was to have been tabled tomorrow morning.

The now caretaker Prime Minister Loughman, who requested the dissolution, has welcomed the president’s decision and called on all Vanuatu citizens to respect it.

RNZ Pacific was still trying to reach the former opposition leader Ralph Regenvanu but in a statement on social media he said they would be challenging the president’s decision in court.

“The President of the Republic has dissolved Parliament on the advice of the Council of Ministers just hours before a scheduled motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister in an Extraordinary Parliamentary session called by the majority of Members. The majority of Members will be challenging this dissolution in court. – in Port-Vila,” Ralph Regenvanu posted on the Vanuatu opposition’s official Facebook page.

However, caretaker Prime Minister Loughman is already in campaign mode saying by law they must hold an election in not less than 30 days but also not more than 60 days time.

“My responsibility and that of my ministers [is] to make sure that we run and we conduct an election for the people of this country to elect their new representatives to represent them in Parliament,” he said.

“I had made an appeal earlier on that when it comes to selecting candidates, I appealed to all the communities to nominate and elect reputable leaders that have the qualities to lead this country.”

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

This copy of the signed instrument for the dissolution of the Vanuatu parliament - 18 August 2022
This copy of the signed instrument for the dissolution of the Vanuatu Parliament was posted online shortly after news of the president’s decision was aired. Image: RNZ
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