Vanuatu. In June, President Baldwin Lonsdale passed away quickly and Parliament Speaker Esmon Saimon became Acting President. According to Countryaah.com, the head of state is elected by an electoral college consisting of the members of parliament and the chairmen of the country’s six regional councils. After four votes, one of the original 16 candidates received two-thirds of the vote, which was required to be elected. New president became Presbyterian pastor Tallis Obed Moses.
In September, the volcano Manaro Voui on the island of Ambae began to become more active and lava was observed in the water surface of the lake found in the crater. The authorities decided to evacuate the island, and all of the island’s more than 11,000 residents were forced to leave their homes. Camps were set up on nearby islands with the help of aid organizations from primarily New Zealand.
New Zealand is also a major contributor to Vanuatu’s project to expand the electricity grid in the countryside. In June, it became clear that the country would receive US $ 4 million from the World Bank and New Zealand, among others, to finance phase two of the ongoing project. Energy Minister Ham Lini highlighted how crucial access to electricity is to rural development. At the time, only about 20% of rural residents had access to electricity, a figure that should have increased to 100% by 2030 if the government’s target is met.
In December, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai survived a vote of no confidence in Parliament with 37 votes to 13. On the day before the vote, Salwai implemented a government reform which meant that the Land and Justice Party (LJP) was given three heavy ministerial posts. Salwai himself belongs to the smaller party The Reunification Movement for Change (RMC).