Iolu Abil elected as Vanuatu’s President

Iolu Abil is sworn in as President of Vanuatu following the Vanuatuan presidential election, 2009.

Vanuatu

Vanuatu

Eleven candidates, including two women, stood in the first round of the election on 1 September 2009 (fifteen had filed, but four of them were not eligible to stand).

Vincent Boulekone won 16 votes, Mataskelekele won 14 votes and Iolu Abil won 11 votes. Kalo Nial and female candidate Yvette Sam both won seven votes.

As 39 votes were required to be elected, a second round was set for 2 September 2009. The government claimed that its votes had been split between various candidates as the government had decided to allow individual MPs to decide whom to vote for in the first round, so that respect could be shown to previous leaders.

The second round was also inconclusive, but in the third round (also on 2 September), Iolu Abil was elected with 41 votes. There were only six other candidates remaining in the third round. Abil was supported by the government (he was the PM’s preference, while the deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini would have preferred to reelect Mataskelekele).

Several members of parliament within Prime Minister Edward Natapei’s governing coalition had supported former President Kalkot Mataskelekele in the first two rounds of the election. Mataskelekele’s five-year term as President had ended on August 16, 2009, and he had been renominated for a second term. However, all members of Natapei coalition had unanimously agreed to support Abil in the third round on September 2, 2009.

Abil defeated six other candidates who had been nominated for president in the electoral college’s third round. With the support of Prime Minister Natapei, he secured 41 votes within the 52-member electoral college, which won the presidency of Vanuatu. He was sworn in as President of Vanuatu on the evening of September 2, 2009

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