Vanuatu. The year was marked by political turbulence.
During the first three months, the government was rebuilt
three times as a result of layoffs. In March, President John
Bani's term of office expired. Only after four votes did
Parliament succeed in April to appoint a new president,
Alfred Maseng. Just a month later, Maseng was forced to
resign since the Supreme Court annulled his election. The
reason was that he forged a certificate that would show that
he was not in the criminal record. According to
CountryAAH, the total population in Vanuatu is 307,156 people in 2020.
The government coalition
lost its majority in parliament, which is why Prime Minister
Edward Natapei dissolved parliament and announced new
elections. In the July 6 election, all major parties lost
support, while several independent candidates entered
parliament. Natapeis Vanuaaku Pati (VP) formed an interim
government together with i.e. National United Party. But the
political uncertainty continued.
The interim government boycotted the newly elected
parliament's July 26 meeting. As there were not enough
members present, Parliament could not elect a new Prime
Minister or President. To be resolute, 35 of the 52 members
of Parliament are required to be present. Only the
opposition bloc with 28 members, led by Serge Vohor,
appeared. When Parliament rallied again on July 29, Vohor
received the most votes and was elected new Prime Minister.
He formed a government made up of independent ministers and
representatives from several parties. The government got off
to a shaky start. Several ministers were dissatisfied with
the posts they were assigned and threatened to move to the
opposition. It was speculated in a vote of no confidence and
Vohor threatened to call for an emergency permit. On August
16, Kalkot Kelekele was elected new president.
In early September, the opposition carried a vote of no
confidence, but the government won the vote and could
remain. In October, Parliament voted in favor of four
constitutional amendments proposed by Vohor to increase
political stability in the country of Vanuatu, as noted by Digopaul. The amendments were
aimed at limiting the ability of the MPs to switch parties
and the possibility of a vote of no confidence in the Prime
Minister. Before the new constitution came into force, it
was to be approved in a referendum scheduled for early 2005.
In November, Vohor suddenly announced that Vanuatu had
established diplomatic relations with Taiwan. This led to
protests from a majority of the government, which wanted to
continue to have unilateral relations with China. Vohor did
not feel that Vanuatu had to choose sides in the
China-Taiwan conflict, but could have good relations with
both countries because there is a great need for assistance.
At the same time, Vanuatu's largest aid donor, Australia,
threatened to withdraw its aid if there was no political
order in the country.
In early December, six ministers resigned in protest
against Vohors Taiwan decision. 15 members of the government
went to the opposition, which aroused mistrust of the prime
minister. Vohor's minority government argued that a vote of
no confidence in this situation would run counter to the
constitution in view of the constitutional amendments that
were tabled in October. The matter was decided in the
Supreme Court, which held that there were no barriers to a
vote of no confidence because the referendum on
constitutional amendments had not yet been held. On December
10, Vohor lost the vote of no confidence and was forced to
resign. He was replaced by Ham Lini, former Deputy Prime
Minister, who formed a new government. Shortly thereafter,
the new government decided to break relations with Taiwan
and return to unilateral relations with China. A few days
later, the Australian Foreign Minister visited the country.
He was satisfied with the political development promised