Talks under way to build coalition government in Vanuatu

Negotiations were underway in Vanuatu on Monday to form a coalition government as unofficial results indicated the corruption scandal that triggered a snap election took its toll on political ranks.

AFP| Last Updated: Jan 25, 2016, 10:22 AM IST

Wellington: Negotiations were underway in Vanuatu on Monday to form a coalition government as unofficial results indicated the corruption scandal that triggered a snap election took its toll on political ranks.

Several long-term members of parliament appear to have lost their seats, according to unofficial figures collated by local news media.

Fourteen MPs from the 52-seat parliament were jailed last year in a corruption scandal which followed years of political instability in the impoverished Pacific archipelago.

The preliminary results from Friday`s ballot show a record 10 independent MPs in the assembly, with 17 political parties represented in all, though eight of them have just one successful MP.

The scandal had put the spotlight "on the pervasive issue of corruption in Vanuatu", Anna Kirk, a research associate in the Melanesia Program at Sydney`s Lowy Institute think-tank, wrote as the election was under way.

"The judgement in the bribery case and the consequent jailing of MPs sent a clear signal to the people of Vanuatu that corruption in politics is illegal and should not be tolerated."

According to the Vanuatu Daily Post, veteran politicians believed to have been voted out of office include former speaker Philip Boedoro, former justice minister Robert Bohn and former prime minister Ham Lini.

The Union of Moderate Parties appeared to be the most successful single group with potentially seven MPs, according to the Post`s unofficial results.