VANUATU
Parliamentary Chamber: Parliament

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2002

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Chamber:
  Parliament


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  2 May 2002


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  A total of 127,000 voters were registered for the May 2002 elections. Voting was delayed in several constituencies because of bad weather and a mix-up in the photographs of two candidates on ballots papers.

Corruption and stability were the key issues of the electoral campaign. Prime Minister Edward Natapei told voters they had a simple choice when they cast their ballots, a choice between stability and instability. He also promised to introduce legislation to prosecute corrupt leaders if his party was voted back into power.

Vanuatu has been one of the most stable of all Melanesian countries in recent years. While both Fiji and Solomon Islands have had coups and Papua New Guinea has weathered military uprisings, Vanuatu has been able to manage its problems without violence erupting.

Mr Natepei's Vanua'aku (Our Land) Party fielded candidates for 26 of the parliament's 52 seats. A record number of independent candidates, 136 compared to only 58 in 1998, vied for the attention of voters. Of the 327 candidates contesting the elections, only seven were women.

The final results released by the Vanuatu Electoral Office gave Mr Natapei's party one seat less than its coalition partner, the Union of Moderate Parties (UMP), i.e. 14 and 15 seats respectively. Before the results were announced, both parties had signed a new Memorandum of Agreement to continue in government for the following four years. In the memorandum the UMP agreed that the Vanua'aku Party could nominate the Prime Minister.

Mr Barak Sope's Melanesian Progressive Party won three seats, while the National United Party took eight. The Greens party, contesting the poll for the first time, won three seats. Independent candidates obtained five seats.

On 3 June 2002, Parliament held its first sitting and re-elected Mr Natapei as Prime Minister. It also elected Mr Henry Taga (UMP) as the new Speaker.

STATISTICS

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Union of Moderated Parties (UMP) 15
Vanua'aku Pati (VP) 14
National United Party (NUP) 8
Melanesian Progressive Party 3
Greens 3
Vanuatu Republican Party 3
Independents 5
Others 1

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 51
Women: 1
Percent of women: 1.92


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Copyright 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union