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Vanuatu Government MPs defect to Opposition

Vanuatu Government MPs Ephraim Kalsakau and Fred Tasso of the Workers Party for Vanuatu Development, have defected to the Opposition group.

The Deputy and Acting Leader of the Opposition bloc, Fred Tasso, told the Daily Post they decided to leave the Government because of alleged broken promises.

He claimed Prime Minister Charlot Salwai had promised to allocate a position of Parliamentary Secretary (PS) for Labour to them three times, but this has never eventuated.

He said they have vast experience to deal with labour matters which have become insurmountable and need political will to deal with these labor issues in the country.

MP Tasso said another reason is that they do not want to be part of any attempt to increase MP salaries, while the ordinary citizens of the country struggle to make ends meet.

According to a press release by the Opposition bloc to the local media Tuesday, the two MPs defected to the Opposition because of the alleged “overspending of unbudgeted funds to unproductive means solely for the unity of the government coalition and the failure of the Prime Minister in managing the overall functions of the government. In addition there have been continued discontent within government backbenchers”.

The two MPs also opposed the signing of the PACER Plus trade agreement, which they say was signed prematurely and without sufficient consultation.

MP Tasso also explained that on July 30, 2017, the name U-Bloc was changed to ‘Workers Party for Vanuatu Development’.

The Opposition bloc now commands 10 Members.

In response to the decision of the two MPs to return to the Opposition, the Government Public Relations Officer (PRO), Hilaire Bule said their move is their democratic right.

He went on to stress that the two MPs joined the Government on their own accord and not at the request of the Charlot Salwai’s Government.

“When they performed a customary ceremony to the Prime Minister, they told him that they came with no conditions but to support a stable government and because being with the Opposition does not allow them to implement their policies objectives,” said Bule.

“The reason for their move back to the Opposition is totally unfounded and untrue.

“They may have an agenda which they did not want to disclose to the public but otherwise the Charlot Salwai government is still commanding the majority of 42 MPs and have carried out numerous economic and social development including major infrastructures this country has ever seen.

“The country is politically stable under the leadership of PM Salwai and this Government remains committed to the nation’s development goals, until the end of its term in 2020”.

The two MPs move back to the Opposition has no effect on the present coalition government, said Bule

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