SYDNEY (News21USA) – Vanuatu President Nikenike Vurobaravu has rejected a request to dissolve the Pacific island nation’s parliament after political leaders agreed to withdraw a no-confidence motion against the prime minister, he said on Wednesday.
Vanuatu has experienced political instability since Ishmael Kalsakau was ousted as prime minister in August by lawmakers, and his replacement, Sato Kilman, was removed in a vote of no confidence a month later.
As political allegiances continued to shift, opposition parties last week tabled a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Charlot Salwai.
Amid the revolving door of leaders, Vanuatu has skipped international meetings ranging from the United Nations General Assembly, a meeting of Pacific Island leaders at the White House with US President Joe Biden and the meeting of the Last week’s Pacific Islands Forum in the Cook Islands.
In a livestreamed news conference, Vurobaravu said there were serious disagreements over policy direction among political leaders and the uncertainty was making it difficult for the public.
«As a developing country we must be united,» he said, also calling for more inclusive representation in politics.
After meeting all political party leaders on Tuesday, Vurobaravu said he had decided not to dissolve parliament and that the opposition had agreed to work with the government to find a way forward.
Opposition Leader Bob Loughman told a news conference that the opposition would withdraw the no-confidence motion the next time parliament meets.
Vanuatu’s Council of Ministers on Friday submitted the request to dissolve parliament, which would have triggered a national election.
China, the United States and Australia are seeking to increase economic and security ties with Vanuatu amid a geopolitical competition for influence in the Pacific islands.
(Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
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