Vanuatu. According to
Countryaah reports, a total of 341 candidates - some of them from
the country's 29 different parties, others independent -
competed for the 52 seats in parliament when elections were
held in Vanuatu on September 2. One reason for the record
number of candidates was widespread dissatisfaction with the
incumbent government and with Prime Minister Ham Lini. Many
of the candidates were independent and tried in various ways
to work together to achieve a change of government.
The election results were even and the vote counted out
over time. When the result was presented after a week, it
became clear that the Party of Our Country (Vanuaaku Pati,
VP) became the largest party with 11 seats. The incumbent
Prime Minister Ham Linis United National Party (NUP)
received 8 seats. The Union of Moderate Parties (UMP) and
Vanuatu's Republican Party (VRP) took home 7 seats each.
Other parliamentary seats went to small parties and
VP formed a coalition government together with i.a. NUP
and together gained a majority of seats in parliament, 27.
The opposition, which consisted of VRP, UMP and the Greens,
among others, had 25 seats.
On September 22, VP leader Edward Natapei was elected new
prime minister with the support of the 27 coalitions of the
government coalition in parliament. The opposition's 25
members voted for Maxime Korman from VRP. Natapei had been
prime minister in 2001–04 and minister in various
governments in the 1990s. On the same day he was elected
prime minister, Natapei presented his new government with 13
ministers, mainly from the VP and the NUP. Outgoing Prime
Minister Ham Lini also took office in this government, as
Deputy Prime Minister.
During the first two months as prime minister, Natapei
survived three distrustful votes against him in parliament
on the initiative of the opposition.