Charlot Salwai sworn in as Prime Minister; Unity bloc a.k.a. ‘Pele Group’ in control of Vanuatu Parliament

salwai2

It’s official: Unity bloc MP for Pentecost Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas of the Reunification of Movements for Change party has just been elected 11th Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu during today’s first sitting of the 11th Legislature in Parliament House.

Speculation continued rife during the voting for the position of Speaker of the Vanuatu Parliament this morning as to which of the two emergent — and still emerging — groups would win, and thus be likely to win the prime ministership and rule of the country. Finally the group which has come to be known as the Pele Group was seen to be the winner, with MP Esmon Saimon of Vanua’aku Pati being sworn in as Speaker prior to a lunch break.

There were alleged to be side switches during the night last night. The Pele Group had ensured a worthwhile negotiation venue in the small offshore island (Pele) to the main island of Efate. Listeners to the national radio coverage of the Speaker elections this morning heard that the Nagriamel political party had joined the Pele Group overnight.

Led by former ministers of ability such as Joe Natuman and Ralph Regenvanu (Natuman also a former PM who enjoyed a strong majority) the Pele Group is seeking a wide range of legislative and political changes which will assist Parliament to enable the security of future elected administrations. The national administration will be voted into office this afternoon.