Vanuatu now has a new President that hails from Motalava in Torba Province.
He is Baldwin Jackson Lonsdale, the eighth President of the Republic of Vanuatu since independence in 1980.
He succeeds President Iolu Abbil, from Tanna in Tafea Province.
President Baldwin Lonsdale’s successful election was officially announced by the returning officer, Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek at around 3.35pm yesterday afternoon at the Parliamentary Chambers.
President Lonsdale secured 46 votes above the required 39 votes that constitutes 2/3 majority required in accordance with the relevant sections of the constitution for the election of the president of the Republic of Vanuatu.
The new President of Vanuatu holds tertiary qualifications in Theology from Saint John’s College in Auckland, New Zealand, and Bishop Patterson Theological College in the Samoan Islands.
He holds Diploma in Scholar of Theology and Diploma in Theology from Saint John’s College in Auckland, New Zealand and Bishop Patterson’ College in the Solomon Islands respectively.
Prior to this, he studied at Vureas High School on Ambae.
His previous employment engagement includes; Secretary General of the Torba Province from 1998-2006, Vanuatu National Youth Coordinator from 1991 to 1998, Principal and Teacher at Torgil Rural Training Center from 1987 to 1991.
He joined the British National Services and served in the British Administration responsible for the recruitment of the New Hebrideans into the British national Services from 1968 to 1972 and left to carry out Clergy work in the Anglican Church.
After Independence, the new Head of State Father Lonsdale Jackon Baldwin, received Vanuatu Medal of Merit and Vanuatu Jubilee Award.
President Lonsdale has six children. He is a widower.
The new President of the Republic of Vanuatu was successfully elected during the 7th sitting of the Electoral College as a result of a consensus between the Government side and the Opposition groupings. The first six failed attempts by the Electoral College over the past week and the beginning of this week saw shifts of votes with highest numbers between different candidates that indicated the members of the Commission went for Provinces, Political affiliations.
During the failed sixth sitting at 9am yesterday morning, the Returning Officer called on the members of the Electoral College to put aside provincial differences, religious differences, individual differences and pull together and elect a new President.
His call was heeded by the members of the Electoral Commission, which resulted in a consensus between the Government and the Opposition, as evident in the outcome of 46 votes for the new President.