NUP Joins UMP, VP and Partners

NUP’s Honourary President, Ham Lini (far left) shaking hands with Ishmael Kalsakau, with NUP President Bruno Leingkon at Aquana Resort yesterday. Photo- Jimmy Allan / Vanuatu Political Arena

The National United Party (NUP) has walked away from a recently signed memorandum of agreement by joining the opposite camp.

NUP had signed an agreement with Graon mo Jastis Pati, Reunification Movement for Change and Leaders Party of Vanuatu with the intent of forming the next coalition government.

The switch by NUP is part of the political manoeuvring taking place since the announcement of the winning candidates by the Electoral Commission after the general election.

As of Thursday this week there were reportedly still 26 members of parliament in both sides of the blocs that are trying to form government.

On Monday a new Prime Minister is expected to be elected along with new ministers in the process of the formation of a new government.

But yesterday, according to reports from the camp at the Aquana Resort, all NUP members of parliament were present during a custom ceremony performed with President of the party, Bruno Leingkon.

Present to witness the ceremony was former president of NUP and former prime minister, Ham Lini.

Daily Post was told yesterday that the Aquana team had increased its numbers to 30 after the four NUP members of parliament joined the group.

The major groups at the Aquana are Union of Moderate Parties and Vanua’aku Party, along with political parties that either have one or two MPs.

This would mean 22 are with the opposite camp that currently runs the caretaker government. Some of the political parties that did not sign the memorandum of agreement with the current caretaker partners have yet to indicate which side they will be in once parliament convenes.

But in Vanuatu politics, especially now that parliamentary secretary positions have been abolished, 24 or 48 hours is a very long time.

Parliamentary secretary positions were part of the leverages in the 11th legislature that held the coalition government together.

If the group with 30 MPs yesterday remain together, they may form government. One thing that keeps politicians together is the fair sharing of ministerial portfolios.

A major reason behind many politicians changing their minds within 24 to 48 hours or even 6 to 12 hours before the formation of government is how ministries are shared among the soon-to-be coalition partners.

It remains to be seen if the group of 30 remain true to themselves until Monday, especially if all groups are satisfied with the political sharing.

But between today and Monday morning, the group currently in caretaker government have all the time to entice members of the opposite camp with ministerial portfolios.

Usually negotiations at the eleventh hour sometimes come with a high price of a very senior ministerial position put up in the ‘political market’ to entice MPs or political parties to switch sides.

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