Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 31 October 2015

President Baldwin Lonsdale still believes the Government and Opposition can come together and find a practical solution to the country’s current political instability. He is reported as saying this yesterday afternoon in a press conference covered by both national radio VBTC and the Daily Post this morning. The Head of State had been asked to dissolve Parliament by Prime Minister Kilman following a Council of Ministers’ decision of 16 October and he had replied on 21 October that there was still time for both political sides to reach agreement. For President Lonsdale, dissolution would be a “last resort.” The 14 MPs convicted of bribery remain in Correctional Services until their appeal is heard on or after 9 November.If their appeal is upheld they would resume their constitutional posts. Fr Baldwin Lonsdale, having met with both sides in the political crisis again, yesterday called on the Malvatumauri, the National Council of Women, the VCC and youth councils and citizens of the Republic to help the country find the solution.

The Deputy President of the Vanua’aku Pati and former PM Joe Natuman told VBTC that the Opposition is agreed to work closely with the Government to find a way of working together towards the national elections scheduled for 2016. Natuman said the Opposition, however, is clear in “not wanting to work under the leadership of a government formed by criminal activity.”

PM Kilman has said this week that he would agree to step down if everyone worked together for a government of national unity (GNU).

The Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PCV) has called on both sides to come together with urgency and humility to take the country out of the situation in which it finds itself. It also urged them to make strenuous efforts towards the reunification of the major political blocks responsible for the country’s development since 1980. The absence of such groupings was of major concern and discussion at the PCV Assembly at Erakor in August this year.