A Motion of No Confidence in Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, was filed with the Speaker of Parliament by the Opposition mid-morning Wednesday.
The motion was signed by 31 Members of Parliament and was lodged by the Opposition led by the Acting Leader who is also Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Sato Kilman. Kilman confirmed to the media afterward that the motioned had been deposited with the Speaker.
At 2pm on Wednesday afternoon when Parliament reconvened with 38 MPs from both the Government and the Opposition benches present, the Speaker, Esmon Saimon, informed the House that he had received the Motion of No Confidence in the Prime Minister.
He said the motion was in order and the vote on the motion had been set for 2pm on Wednesday next week, November 30.
Government Whip, Bob Loughman, questioned the Speaker as to whether the motion was still in order.
The Speaker responded that although six of the signatories had since withdrawn their signatures from the motion, these came after the Speaker had ruled the motion in order.
He said the vote will still go ahead next Wednesday and the six MPs concerned “would have to show their decision on the floor of Parliament” during voting on the motion.
The motion was moved by Leader of the Opposition, Ishmael Kalsakau and seconded by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Sato Kilman.
The motion was lodged in accordance to Article 42 (2) of the Constitution providing for a Motion of No Confidence against a Prime Minister and Article 41 of the Constitution and Standing Order 8 and 9 (3) of the Standing Orders of Parliament providing for the election of a new Prime Minister.
The reasons given for the motion were that the Prime in the course of the last 10 months permitted his office to be called into question by the following actions: “a) introducing amendments to the Constitution that have been poorly considered and have erroneously not received the prior consultations of the people of Vanuatu; b) introducing the prospects of an income tax which has failed in all aspects to take into account the livelihood of the people of Vanuatu potentially reducing the bulk of the population into further poverty; c) improperly conducting himself in the office of the Prime Minister by attending to a private trip to China; and d) erroneously advocating the PACER Plus in a manner that has never taken into account the need to first address the weakness in Vanuatu industry such that the prospect will reduce Vanuatu to further poverty.”
The motion was signed by Ishmael Kalsakau (MP), Sato Kilman (MP), Christopher Emelee (MP), Hosea Nevu (MP), Joshua Kalsakau (MP), Ephraim Kalsakau (MP), Samsen Samson (MP), Jay Ngwele (MP), Don Ken (MP), Marc Ati (MP), Tom Noam Iounian (MP), Isaac Tongoliliu (MP), Jack Wona (MP), Kalo Pakoasongi)(MP), Norris Jack Kalmet (MP) Efate Rural Constituency and Minister of Youth and Sports, Seule Simeon (MP) Epi Constituency, Jerome Ludvaune (MP) Malekula Constituency, Nakou Natuman (MP) Tanna Constituency, Tomker Netvunei (MP) Tafea Outer Islands Constituency, Edwin Macreveth (MP) Santo Rural Constituency, Kalo Seule (MP) Port Vila Constituency and Parliamentary Secretary, Albert Williams (MP) Ambrym Constituency and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, Fred Tasso (MP) Paam Constituency and Leader of Government Business, John Sala (MP) Malekula Constituency and Parliamentary Secretary, Rick Mahe Tchamako (MP for Santo Constituency, Marcellino Barthelemy (MP for Malekula Constituency, and Francois Chani (MP) Pentecost Constituency and Special Government Envoy for Trade.
Less than an hour after the Motion was accepted by the Speaker, one of the signatories – Jerome Ludvaenu was accepting an appointment by the Prime Minister as the new Minister of Health, the second signatory – Leader of Government Whip Fred Tasso was replaced by MP for Efate Rural Gillion William, and the third signatory Tomker Netvunei was appointed new Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biodiversity.
When Parliament reconvened, met at 2pm Tuesday after two unsuccessful attempts Tuesday, there were 29 Members on the Government side including motion signatories Minister of Youth and Sport Norris Jack Kalmet, the new Minister of Health Ludvaune, one MP Samsen Samson on the centre benches and eight Opposition MPs led by Acting Leader of Opposition Kilman.
Notable absences from the Government side were two PS who signed the motion – MP Albert Williams and MP John Sala.