Obed Moses Tallis Is Vanuatu's New President

Leader of Presbyterian Church becomes 9th Head of State

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, July 7, 2017) – The new President of the Republic of Vanuatu is Obed Moses Tallis, from Port Vato, West Ambrym in Malampa Province.

His candidature was supported by the Government of Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, and the Coalition partners.

He was elected as the 9th President of the Republic of Vanuatu by the Electoral College at Parliament Chambers yesterday (July 6, 2017) with 39 votes which is just above the required number of 38.

President Tallis has held the position of the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu twice.

First term of office was from 2009 to 2010 and again, from 2013 to 2016 and has been re-elected for another term, at the time of his successful election as the new President.

The 61-year-old President holds a Diploma in Divinity and Mission from Sydney Missionary and Bible College in Australia and another Diploma in Theology in Talua Bible College as well as a graduate of Alan Walker School of Evangelism, Australia.

He attended Tangoa Presbyterian Bible Institute, South Santo from 1977 to 1978 and prior to this, the new Head of State was engaged in the teaching profession in schools around the islands of Vanuatu.

Tallis played a major role in both spiritual and physical life of not only the Presbyterian Church but Vanuatu as a whole, when he occupied the positions of Clerk of the Ambrym Presbytery on his home island, served in missionary work on Erromango, North Ambrym, Luganville town on Santo, and contributed largely too in the education, health and other similar services within and outside the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu.

Immediately after his swearing in by Vanuatu’s Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek, President Obed Tallis, addressed the Electoral College and the nation.

He quoted a Bible Scripture in Hebrews 13: 7, and called for one minute silence in remembrance of the late President Baldwin Lonsdale.

The new President also acknowledged past leaders before and after independence.

He went on to acknowledge the members of the Electoral College and thanked them for their deliberations up to his eventual election, with special mention also to the Vanuatu Chief Justice in his role as the Returning Officer during the four rounds of voting by the Electoral College, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, the President of the Malvatumauri Council of Chiefs and leaders at all level of communities.

The new President called for unit amongst all leaders at the national, provincial levels and the people of Vanuatu.

President Tallis was joined by the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in a large cake cutting (cake decorated with the colours of the national flag) as Prime Minister Charlot Salwai congratulated the President Tallis on behalf of the Government and the people and all communities of Vanuatu at large and proposed a toast to the new President.

The customary toast of kava was also shared with the President by the national leaders, including the Leader of the Opposition, Ishmael Kalsakau, who appropriately congratulated the new Head of State, assured him of the support of working together and wish him well in his important duties and responsibilities to the nation.

A special custom dance from Ambrym was performed inside the Parliamentary arena in honor of one of their own family from their island and the province who was elected to the position of the President of the Republic Vanuatu.

Chief Temas, son of Chief Tofor, of Ambrym, presented a custom leaf namele to the President signifying the new Head of State as a symbol of peace in the nation.

Daily Post will be running a special feature on the election of the new Head of State in the weekend edition.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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Robert McKean was missionary and teacher at Talua Bible College. He is now minister at Orange Presbyterian Church NSW Australia. He told me about his missionary work in Vanuatu earlier at end of 2016 when I visited Orange where I used to go to church. It is good there are strong Christian roots in Vanuatu which will give it stability and growth.

"It is good there are strong Christian roots in Vanuatu which will give it stability and growth." Good economic management is what Vanuatu needs for stability and growth, 'Christian roots' have nothing to do with it.

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