Election Of New Vanuatu PM Carcasses Criticized

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Paramount chief opposes leadership by naturalized citizen

By Thompson Marango

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 27, 2013) – The Vaturisu Council of Chiefs’ President Andrew Kalpoilep has issued a statement criticizing the election of the first ever non-indigenous Vanuatu Prime Minister since Independence.

The Efate paramount chief was the first to come out publicly over Prime Minister Moana Carcasses’ naturalized citizen status which he referred to as a "slap to the people of Efate and Vanuatu after 32 years of Independence."

"Efate custom does not allow a naturalized citizen to overtake a paramount chief whose bloodline connects to the land, custom, and traditions and their ritual ceremonies," the Efate Chief stated after the Green Confederation President took over prime ministership from Sato last weekend from Sato Kilman.

"As members of the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, I strongly believe that this same customs of Efate exist throughout the country.

"As a former Vanua’aku Party political commissioner during the 1970s and ‘80s, I am surprised that a political party that had defended the strong culture and tradition with the land belonging to the indigenous people can support the appointment of someone who has no indigenous blood to the post of Prime Minister."

Daily Post contacted the Secretary General of Vaturisu, Chief Jimmy Meameadola, to confirm if the statement was from Vaturisu as it did not have any letterhead of the Council on it and he said he was not aware of the statement but said it may have been written by the President.

Meanwhile even before the elections of the new Prime Minister, Vanua’aku President, Edward Natapei has responded to critics over the issue by referring to the Constitution which he said clearly states that a naturalized citizen is also eligible to hold the prime minister’s post.

According to Article 17(2) which provides for the election of members of Parliament, "Subject to such conditions or restrictions as may be prescribed by Parliament every citizen of Vanuatu who is at least 25 years of age shall be eligible to stand for election to Parliament."

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