Vanuatu has no real defense. 300 people (2009) constitute a semi-military security force trained according to Australian methods. In addition there is a marine unit of 50 men with 2 patrol vessels. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that VUT stands for Vanuatu.
Despite widespread political instability. persistent rumors of a new uprising on the part of the VMF – the Asian Development Bank approved in 1997 a $ 14 million loan for a government economic reform program.
In early 1998, the country’s Court of Appeals approved the dissolution of parliament requested by President Jean-Marie Leye. During the subsequent elections in March, the Unit Front won 18 of the 52 seats in elections, followed by the Union of Moderate Parties with 12 and the United National Party with 11. The other seats went to smaller political groups. Former Vice President and Head of the Unity Front, Donald Kalpokas formed government together with the National Party. But the alliance was unstable and the government fell after a few months. Instead, a new government was formed in alliance with the Union of Moderate Parties.
The growing corruption within government circles was curbed by Ombudsman Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson, who presented reports of relief scams to be used for victims of cyclones, as well as fraud with fake passports and pension funds. The revelations sparked protest demonstrations and the government introduced a state of emergency to bring the situation under control. However, the government did not succeed in stabilizing the situation in the country, and in November 1999 Barak Sopé of the Melanesian Progressive Party was tasked with forming a new government.
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In early 2002, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit the Richter scale. Its epicenter was located 50 km west of the capital at a depth of 33 km below the seabed. As a result, electricity and water were cut off in most districts. Several were injured and many houses, bridges and an office building were destroyed.
Former Prime Minister Barak Sope was sentenced in July 2002 to 3 years imprisonment for falsifying government guarantees worth $ 46 million. Australian dollars. However, he was released 3 months later for health reasons.
In May 2003, the OECD removed Vanuatu from the list of “tax evasion paradises” after the country passed laws that increased the transparency of its financial system.
Alfred Masing Nalo was elected president in April 2004, but as early as May the Supreme Court removed him from office because he was accused of fraudulent notice, invalidating his candidacy.
In May, Prime Minister Edward Natapei lost the majority in parliament. The interim president, Roger Abiut, dissolved parliament and held a new election for July.
In August, Kalkot Mataskelekele was elected president of the 58-member electoral college. He was one of 16 candidates. Serge Vohor was elected prime minister. Mataskelekele urged the government, the church, traditional leaders and citizens in general to agree on the development of the country.
In November-December, Vohor lost a vote of confidence in Parliament by 35 votes to 14. This was due to a highly critical assessment of his work in establishing diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Vohor was resigned and replaced with Ham Lini on the post of Prime Minister.