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Opposition 28, Government 21
When Parliament met yesterday at 4pm to discuss the establishment of committees and appointment of members of them; two government ministers namely Marcellino Pipite and Thomas Laken along with Port Vila MP Moana Carcasses, Ambae MP Richard Mwera, Port Vila MP Tony Wright, Port Vila MP Patrick Crowby, Tanna MP Morkin Stevens, Epi MP Robert Bonh, all moved to the Opposition side increasing the Opposition number from 18 to 28.
This leaves the government side with 21, excluding one government MP and Minister of Health, Don Ken, who was absent as he was on Malekula and Speaker of Parliament, George Wells.
Commenting to Daily Post immediately at the end of yesterday’s short afternoon session, Opposition Leader, Edward Nipake Natapei said: “We will maintain this number until Thursday and will topple Prime Minister Kilman.
“We expect few more MPs from the government side to cross over to join the Opposition by Thursday. The Opposition will maintain our number in our camp until Thursday,” Natapei told Daily Post.
On the question of who is going to be the next Prime Minister, Natapei replied: “I told Radio New Zealand today that I will not take up the position and I cannot comment at this stage as to who will be the next Prime Minister until Thursday,” said Natapei.
He dismissed rumours that VP and UMP intend to join the Sato Kilman-led government.
“It’s rumours and the Opposition maintains the number we have now until Thursday for a change of government,” he said.
Meanwhile Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, told Daily Post that one minute in politics is a long time.
He was commenting on the move by two of his cabinet ministers (Minister of Ni-Vanuatu Business and Minister for Justice) and government backbenchers moving to the Opposition yesterday afternoon
“In politics one minute is a long time. I want to let the government supporters know that my government still has the numbers and will defeat the motion on Thursday,” he said.
“I have always maintained that MPs and state ministers have their democratic and constitutional rights and I respect that.
“Thursday is the time for the motion. It will be then we will see who is supporting the government and who is supporting the Opposition.
“It’s their right to move from me but I still have the numbers despite the move this afternoon by two government ministers and government backbenchers,” Prime Minister Kilman remarked to Daily Post.
On the question of comments on disagreement amongst some of the parties’ leaders in a Caucus Meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Kilman replied: “All other political parties leaders in the coalition agreed with me except the Green Confederation Party leader, Moana Carcasses,” Kilman replied to Daily Post.
It remains to be seen on Thursday if the Opposition maintains the 28 MPs to topple Prime Minister Kilman or whether the government head will manoeuver in the next 24 hours to regain support of MPs from the Opposition back to the government side and remain at the helm.