Edward Natapei: Wikis


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Edward Natapei

Assumed office 
22 September 2008
President Kalkot Mataskelekele
Maxime Carlot Korman (Acting)
Iolu Abil
Preceded by Ham Lini
Sato Kilman
In office
13 April 2001 – 29 July 2004
President John Bani
Roger Abiut (Acting)
Alfred Maseng
Roger Abiut (Acting)
Preceded by Barak Sopé
Succeeded by Serge Vohor

In office
2 March 1999 – 24 March 1999
Prime Minister Donald Kalpokas
Preceded by Jean Marie Leye Lenelgau
Succeeded by John Bani

Born 17 July 1954 (1954-07-17) (age 55)
Political party Vanua'aku Pati
Spouse(s) Leipaki Natapei

Edward Nipake Natapei Tuta Fanua`araki (born 17 July 1954) is a politician from Vanuatu who was the most recent Prime Minister of Vanuatu, having been elected to the post on 22 September 2008, and became ineligible to continue serving as Prime Minister on 27 November 2009, as his seat was declared vacant.[1] Natapei was previously the Minister of Foreign Affairs briefly in 1991, the acting President of Vanuatu from 2 March 1999 to 24 March 1999 (during a time in which he was the Speaker of Parliament), Prime Minister from 2001 until 2004, and then Deputy Prime Minister. He is the President of the Vanua'aku Pati, a socialist, Anglophone political party.



Natapei was first elected to Parliament in 1983. In 1996, he was elected as Speaker of Parliament, and in 1999 he was elected as President of Vanua'aku Pati.[2] In a parliamentary vote on 25 November 1999, Natapei was a candidate for the position of Prime Minister, but was defeated by Barak Sopé, receiving 24 votes against 28 for Sope.[3] When Sopé lost a vote of no confidence, Natapei became Prime Minister on 13 April 2001, receiving 27 votes in parliament, with one vote against him.[4] He retained the position after the May 2002 election.[5] Even though his party performed poorly in the July 2004 election, he was re-elected as a Member of Parliament for Port Vila Constituency with the highest number of votes. He supported Ham Lini for the post of Prime Minister, but Lini was defeated; however, Serge Vohor was ousted in a motion of no confidence and Ham Lini was elected Prime Minister. Being Vanua'aku Party President entitled Natapei to the post of Speaker of the House, which he declined and relegated to Sam Dan Avock, who was a Party Executive Member.

Natapei became Minister for Infrastructure and Public Utilities in the Lini-led government in July 2005.[2] A split in Vanua'aku Pati was resolved in August 2005, and Natapei was re-elected as its President,[6][7] receiving 124 votes against 67 for Sela Molisa.[7] In late July 2007 he became Minister of Public Utilities again, replacing Serge Vohor, as well as becoming Deputy Prime Minister.[8]

Second time as Prime Minister (2008–2009)

Natapei was elected Prime Minister on 22 September 2008, by the Parliament of Vanuatu after three weeks of negotiations following the country's September 2nd general election.[9] Natapei received 27 of the 52 votes in Parliament to become Prime Minister for a second term.[9] He narrowly beat his nearest opponent, Maxime Carlot Korman, another former Vanuatu Prime Minister and the leader of the Vanuatu Republican Party, who captured 25 votes in Parliament.[9] Natapei succeeded Ham Lini as Prime Minister and headed a new coalition government encompassing his own Vanua'aku Pati, as well as Lini's National United Party, independents and several smaller political parties, such as Namangi Aute.[10]

Natapei pledged to continue the policies and reforms of the outgoing Lini government.[9] He announced that some of his government's primary policies would include transparency, good governance and fighting corruption.[9]

Opposition leader Maxime Carlot Korman attempted a vote of no confidence motion just two days after Natapei became Prime Minister. The Opposition, led by Korman, claimed that two MPs had defected from Natapei coalition and were now supporting Korman.[11] However, the Speaker of the Parliament George Wells rejected Korman's motion against Natapei on a technicality saying that one of the two MPs in question had not withdrawn their support for Natapei's government.[11] A no-confidence vote was nevertheless held on 3 October 2008, but the motion was defeated, with 20 votes in favor and 31 votes against. Because Natapei's government won the vote by a substantial margin, it was expected that the political situation would be stabilized as a result.[12] Nevertheless, another motion of no confidence was attempted on 25 November 2008; Natapei survived the vote by a narrow margin of 26 to 24.[13] Three Vanua'aku Pati MPs signed the motion of no confidence, and after they refused to withdraw their signatures, Natapei suspended them from the party immediately prior to the vote.[14]

In November 2009 Prime Minister Natapei, facing another vote of no confidence, organized a second major cabinet reshuffle.[15] Natapei removed half of his cabinet members and cut ties with two political parties, National United Party and the Vanuatu Republican Party, when it was revealed that the parties and their members were planning to launch a no confidence motion against his government.[15]

Natapei replaced the sacked cabinet members with sixteen members from the opposition Alliance.[15] Among the highest profile reshuffles, Ham Lini, Natapei predecessor and a member of the NUP, was replaced as Natapei's deputy prime minister by the leader of the Alliance bloc, Sato Kilman.[15] Maxime Carlot Korman will be replaced as the Speaker of parliament by George Wells.[15] Alliance leader Sato Kilman confirmed that because of the reshuffle the Natapei government now had the support of 33 of the 52 MPs in the House.[15]

On 27 November 2009, Natapei became ineligible to continue serving as Prime Minister. His parliamentary seat was declared vacant as he had missed three parliamentary sittings without informing the Speaker of the House. Despite being overseas on legitimate parliamentary business, his staff had failed to file the necessary paperwork with the Speaker to give notice of his absence.[16]


First Cabinet line-up

Natapei named his government's cabinet line-up on 22 September 2008, the day of his election as Prime Minister.[17] His cabinet included members of his own Vanua'aku Pati (VP) as well as the National United Party (VNUP).[17] Natapei's predecessor, outgoing Prime Minister Ham Lini, was named as the new Minister for Public Utilities and Works.[17]


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Natapei's full cabinet includes:[17]

  • Bakoa Kaltongga as the Minister of Foreign Affairs (VP)
  • Sela Molisa as Finance Minister (VP)
  • Joe Natuman as Lands Minister (VP)
  • Willie Ruben Abel as Minister of Education(VP)
  • Ham Lini as DPM and Minister for Infrastructure & Public Utilities (VNUP)
  • James Bule remains as Minister for Trade,Commerce and Industries (VNUP)
  • Patrick Crowby as the Minister for Internal Affairs (VNUP)
  • Roro Sambo as Minister of Health(VNUP)
  • Havo Moli was also appointed as Minister of Agriculture. Moli is the lone member of Natapei's cabinet from the Nagriamel Movement political party.[17]
  • Joshua Kalsakau as Minister Of Justice and Social Welfare (Labor Party)
  • Ps Don Ken as Minister of Youth,Develepoment and Training (Ind)
  • Esmon Saimon as Minister o Ni Vanuatu Business (Ind)

A few days before the motion of no confidence was debated in Parliament Prime Minister Natapei brought into the government side the Union Of Moderate Parties (UMP)and did his first cabinet reshuffle as follows:

  • Bakoa Kaltongga as the Minister of Foreign Affairs (VP)
  • Sela Molisa as Finance Minister (VP)
  • Joe Natuman as Minister of Health (VP) (Replacing Roro Sambo (VNUP))
  • Ham Lini as DPM and Minister for Justice and Social Welfare (Replacing Joshua Kalsakau)(VNUP)
  • James Bule as Minister for Trade, Commerce & Industries(VNUP)
  • Patrick Crowby as the Minister for Internal Affairs (VNUP)
  • Havo Moli as Minister of Agriculture.
  • Ps Don Ken as Minister of Youth,Develepoment and Training
  • Serge Vohor as Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities (UMP)
  • Raphael Worwor as Minister of Lands (UMP) (Replacing Joe Natuman)
  • Charlot Salwai as Minister of Education (UMP) (Replacing Willie Ruben Abel)
  • Esmon Saimon as Minister od Ni Vanuatu Business (Ind)


  1. ^ http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/story.htm?id=24574
  2. ^ a b "Biographies of Speakers: Pacific 2020 Conference", AusAID.
  3. ^ "Nov 1999 - New government", Keesing's Record of World Events, Volume 45, November, 1999 Vanuatu, Page 43269.
  4. ^ "Apr 2001 - New government", Keesing's Record of World Events, Volume 47, April, 2001 Vanuatu, Page 44111.
  5. ^ "May 2002 - Legislative elections", Keesing's Record of World Events, Volume 48, May, 2002 Vanuatu, Page 44795.
  6. ^ "Vanuaaku Pati mends split and re-elects Edward Natapei as its leader", Radio New Zealand International, 31 August 2005.
  7. ^ a b "Former PM to lead reunified party in Vanuatu", ABC Radio Australia, 31 August 2005.
  8. ^ "Vanuatu reshuffles cabinet again", ABC Radio Australia, 30 July 2007.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Vanuatu lawmakers elect Natapei as prime minister". Associated Press (International Herald Tribune). 2008-09-22. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/09/22/asia/AS-Vanuatu-Politics.php. Retrieved 2008-09-22.  
  10. ^ "Natapei Chosen To Serve As Vanuatu Prime Minister". Radio New Zealand International (Pacific Magazine). 2008-09-22. http://www.pacificmagazine.net/news/2008/09/22/natapei-chosen-to-serve-as-vanuatu-prime-minister. Retrieved 2008-09-22.  
  11. ^ a b "Vanuatu No-Confidence Vote Rejected By Speaker". Pacific Magazine (Radio New Zealand International). 2008-09-25. http://www.pacificmagazine.net/news/2008/09/25/vanuatu-no-confidence-vote-rejected-by-speaker. Retrieved 2008-09-27.  
  12. ^ "Vanuatu government defeats no confidence motion convincingly", ABC Radio Australia, 3 October 2008.
  13. ^ "Vanuatu government survives confidence vote", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 25 November 2008.
  14. ^ "Three Vanuatu MPs suspended", ABC Radio Australia, 25 November 2008.
  15. ^ a b c d e f "Vanuatu PM counters challenge with major reshuffle". Radio New Zealand International. 2009-11-18. http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=50393c. Retrieved 2009-11-20.  
  16. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/11/27/2756081.htm?section=justin
  17. ^ a b c d e "New Vanuatu PM names his cabinet line-up". Radio Australia. 2008-09-22. http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=42133. Retrieved 2008-09-22.  

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Jean Marie Leye Lenelgau
President of Vanuatu

Succeeded by
John Bani
Preceded by
Barak Sopé
Prime Minister of Vanuatu
Succeeded by
Serge Vohor
Preceded by
Ham Lini
Prime Minister of Vanuatu
Succeeded by


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