Vanuaty Daily Post – By Jonas Cullwick
The Electoral College is meeting at 9 o’clock this morning to elect the eighth person to hold the office of the President of Vanuatu.
A total of 16 candidates including one woman have been confirmed eligible by the Electoral Commission, for the poll by secret ballot.
The law for election of the President of the Republic of Vanuatu requires that at first calling a quorum of three-quarters (3/4) of the Electoral College of 58 members – 52 Members of Parliament and 6 Chairmen of Provincial Councils, is needed.
The candidate that receives the vote of two-thirds of the members of the College will be elected President.
The Government currently commands 44 MPs but as has been experienced in the past, support for candidates that come from provinces has always overridden party or government support.
Voting for the last President had to go for seven attempts before the Chief Justice, Vincent Lunabek, had to put his foot down to make the College ignore party or provincial lines and elected Baldwin Lonsdale, President of Vanuatu until his untimely death on the morning of Saturday, June 17 forcing this election today for his successor.
The President’s term of office is five years.
Previous holders of the office of President of Vanuatu have been President Ati George Sokomanu (Shefa Province) who served two terms, President Fred Timakata (Shefa), President Jean-Marie Leye Lenalcau (Tafea), President John Bennett Bani (Penama), President Kalkot Matas-Kelekele (Shefa), President Iolu Abbil (Tafea) and President Baldwin Lonsdale (Torba).