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Vanuatu

Vanuatu has a new president

It took almost three days and eight rounds of voting by Vanuatu’s Electoral College to choose their new president.

Nikenike Vurobaravu, who was the nomination put forward by the government, was finally voted in as the 12th President of the Republic of Vanuatu.

To become the president, a nominee has to gather 37 votes or more from the 58-member Electoral College to be declared as the winner.

In the end Mr Vurobaravu got 47 votes after Vanuatu Prime Minister Bob Loughman brokered a deal with the nine MPs of the coalition party led by former prime minister Charlot Salwai.

Those nine MPs have been part of the government for the past year but had fallen out with Mr Loughman over his plans for constitutional reform.

Nikenike Vurobaravu, who was the nomination put forward by the government, has been voted in as the 12th President of the Republic of Vanuatu. Picture: Vanuatu High Commission to Fiji

Mr Vurobaravu is no stranger to the Vanuatu government and has been part of many diplomatic postings, the most recent being to Fiji as the High Commissioner.

After being elected president Mr Vurobaravu promised to encourage national unity and to promote the issue of climate change.

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In line with the conventions of its Westminster-inspired parliamentary system, Vanuatu’s president has historically served a ceremonial non-executive function similar to that of a Governor-General.

The president is elected for a five-year term by an electoral college consisting of Parliament and the presidents of the regional councils.

Nikenike Vurobaravu (L) as the High Comissioner to Fiji with the former president of Fiji Jioji Konrote. Picture: Fijian Government

One function reserved to him or her by the constitution is the appointment of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Vanuatu, and three other justices.

In case of vacancy, the speaker of the Parliament will be the acting president of Vanuatu.

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