State and politics
Vanuatu is, according to the 1980 constitution, a
democratic republic. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of VU and its meanings of Vanuatu. The president is the head of state and
is appointed for a period of five years by parliament and
the presidents of the country's regional councils. The
president mainly has representative duties. Tallis Obed
Moses (born circa 1954) has been president since 2017. All
heads of state since independence have been men.
Parliament has the legislative power, and its 52 members
are elected in general elections every four years. The
Council of Ministers (the Government) is the Executive and
is chaired by the Prime Minister appointed by Parliament.
The National Council of Chiefs has an advisory
function in matters relating to traditional culture and land
Two parties existed at independence in 1980 - the
Socialist and Nationalist Vanua'aku Pati (VP),
supported mainly by English speakers, and the
French-oriented Conservative Union Union des parti
modérés (UPM; English Union of Moderate Parties,
UMP). These have since been divided and several other
parties have also joined. Power struggles between individual
politicians have also led to turbulent political conditions
with recurring statements of confidence and the shift in the
Prime Minister's post.
In the 2012 parliamentary elections, VP received eight
seats, the People's Progressive Party (PPP) six
seats and UPM five seats. After negotiations, PPP leader
Sato Kilman (born 1957), who was already prime minister,
then formed a coalition government. However, he was forced
to step down the following year and a new head of government
became the leader of Green Confederation (GC) Moana
Carcasses Kalosil (born 1959). In 2014, that government also
fell in a vote of no confidence after accusations of buying
votes, and Carcasses Kalosil was replaced by VP leader Joe
Natuman (born 1952). Sato Kilman returned as head of
government in 2015 after the ninth shift in the Prime
Minister's post for seven years.
The split parliamentary situation consisted of the 2016
election when 17 parties and eight independent candidates
were elected. Parliament appointed Charlot Salwai (born
1963), leader of the small party Reunification of Movements
for Change (RMC), as new prime minister and he formed a
broad coalition government. After the 2016 election,
Parliament completely lacked female members.
From time to time as a British-French condominium,
Vanuatu has inherited both English and French law, which are
formally equal. In practice, English-inspired law has been
given an increasingly dominant role. Local custom is
recognized in certain areas of law. The highest courts are
the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
The death penalty was abolished in connection with the
country's independence in 1980.
Heads of State
||Ati George Sokomanu
||Frederick Karlomuana Timakata
||Tallis Obed Moses