Vanuatu Union of Moderate Parties Holds Reconciliation Ceremony For Reunification

Follows Supreme Court battle over Union of Moderate Parties name/mandate

By Jonas Cullwick

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 15, 2017) – The Vice President of the Union of Moderate Parties (UMP) under President Serge Vohor and Leader of the Opposition, Ishmael Kalsakau, is on Tanna today to witness a reconciliation ceremony by members of the party faction under Jacque Meriango who want to return to the faction the court Monday ruled as the true UMP under Vohor.

Kalsakau said that after the orders of the court were released they have received representations from some of the islands and in particular on Tanna.

He said they have indicated a willingness to come and be governed by Serge Vohor’s mandate and so today (Wednesday) Kalsakau is flying down to Tanna where the ceremonies to reconcile will be performed.

The Supreme Court sat 8am Monday and there were injunctive orders issued the same day. The court was satisfied given the concession by the lawyers representing the Meriango faction that there was weight in the (Serge Vohor and Ishmael Kalsakau’s) application that they were the rightfully registered Union of Moderate Parties under the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission and therefore were in the right and had the proper mandate to use the name of Union of Moderate Parties.

The other faction has fielded candidates for the upcoming provincial elections in Penama, Malampa, Shefa and Tafea, but Kalsakau said they must know that the Electoral Commission is already in the process consistent with Order Five of the court orders to remove their names as UMP candidates from the register.

However, he has thrown a lifeline to the other faction under Meriango saying : “There is always the possibility of reconciliation.

“The other side now has to think very carefully.

“The main focus must be the reunification of the factions and this can be done easily by the meeting of minds.

“There needs to be some compromises made.

“They need to accept that the rightful President of the UMP is Serge Vohor and that they need to come and accept that and perform the necessary custom ceremonies to signify their acceptance that the only people that have the right to run as candidates under the coming provincial elections are the ones who have been certified by the President Serge Vohor to be able to run as candidates.

“So, as long as they accept the orders of the court and they have reconciliatory minds and they understand that there is a need for there to be only one UMP under Serge Vohor then that we can easily accommodate the candidates who are contesting now for these elections.”

The Vice President of UMP added however that: “If they don’t want to comply?

“Well, the orders of the court are quite comprehensive in that they prohibit the manifest these people from either standing as candidates in the name of UMP or having insignia of the “open hand” on their posters and they won’t be able to chant the party slogan and they won’t be able at all to have anything to do with the Union of Moderate Parties in the elections.”

But if they accept to reconcile before the elections Kalsakau said: “It only needs a letter signed by Serge Vohor to the Electoral Commission to confirm the names of these persons who have returned and they will run under the banner of UMP.”

Vanuatu Daily Post
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