Vanuatu. Due to political turmoil in the fall of 2015,
when 14 parliamentarians were sentenced to prison for
bribery, President Baldwin Lonsdale disbanded Parliament and
announced new elections until January 2016.
countryaah, the result of the election was a divided parliament with
17 parties and eight independent candidates. In total,
Parliament has 52 members. Three parties were given six
seats each: the Moderate Parties Union (UMP), Our Country
Party (VP) and the Land and Justice Party (LJP). In
February, Parliament elected Charlot Salwai as new prime
minister. He is the leader of the Reunification of Movements
for Change (RMC), a small party that received three seats in
parliament and who together with, among others, the VP, the
LJP and the National United Party (NUP) formed the alliance
Unit for Change before the election. After taking office,
Salwai appointed a new coalition government.
In June, Salwai presented a bill with a total of 25
changes in the country's constitution. These included, inter
alia, rules for Parliament and the establishment of special
mandates reserved for women. In the January elections, only
eight of just over 260 candidates were women, and none of
them were elected. Parliament agreed that the amendments
required negotiations across party borders and that they
must finally be approved in a referendum before they can
enter into force.
In August, eleven of the 14 imprisoned MPs were also
sentenced for trying to prevent justice from happening.