Eight MPs make move “for government stability”

The eight former Opposition Members of Parliament who joined the Government on Wednesday say their move aims to create a more stable government.

The eight Members of Parliament are Ulrich Sumptoh, an MP for Port Vila, from the Reunification Movement for Change (RMC); Francois Batick, an MP for Malekula, from the RMC; Rick Tchamako Mahe, an MP for Santo Rural, from RMC; Gaetano Pikioune, an MP for Santo Rural, from the Vanuatu Liberal Party; Christopher Emele, an MP for Torres, from the Vanuatu National Development Party; Fabiano Nano Stevens, an MP for Santo Rural, from the Vemarana Party; Jack Norris, an MP for Efate Rural, from RMC; and Marcelino Barthelemy, an MP for Malekula, from RMC.

Mr Emele, who was the Former Deputy Leader of Opposition, says the eight members moved to offer the government stability.

“We will try to contribute through this crisis. It is a last-minute decision, there is nothing wrong between us and the Opposition but because there are members on the other side who are not happy and so we decided to give them a chance [to continue to govern],” Mr Emele said.

On Wednesday, the Opposition appointed Jotham Napat, an MP for Tanna, from the Vanuatu Labour Party, as its new deputy leader of Opposition and Andrew Napuat, an MP for Tanna, from the Graon mo Jastis Pati as its new whip. The appointments came after Mr Emele joined the Government and announced his resignation from the position.

Prime Minister Bob Loughman says he respects the decision of the eight members.

He says the eight members had seen importance of the policy of the current Government and decided at their own will to join the Government.

Opposition Leader, Ralph Regenvanu, says the concern now is the voice of Opposition in Parliament.

“The move will reduce our numbers. The Government will now have a majority of two thirds so basically it can suspend the Standing Orders at any time and do other things that will affect our work. Otherwise we will continue with our normal duties,” he said.

The Vanuatu Government now has a total of 37 members and the Opposition has 15 members.

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