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Parliament name Parliament
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 6 July 2004
Timing and scope of renewal Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament after the premature dissolution of this body in May 2004. General elections had previously been held in May 2002.
On 11 May 2004 acting President Roger Abiut dissolved the Parliament on the recommendation of Prime Minister Edward Natapei who was facing likely defeat in a no-confidence motion.

The next scheduled election wasn't due until 2006. Since the last election in 2002 the government of Prime Minister Natapei had suffered defections from his support base in the Parliament. He had thus lost his majority earlier in 2004. The Cabinet then called on the President to dissolve parliament after the opposition leader Mr. Serge Vohor called a vote of no-confidence in the government. Although the parliamentary opposition mounted a legal challenge to the dissolution this was rejected by the Court of Appeal on 28 May 2004. On that same day the Election Commission set 6 July 2004 as the date for a general election.

Some 219 candidates contested the elections with a record 52 candidates running on independent tickets. Observers said the large number of independent candidates reflected frustration with party candidates who hadn't lived up to promises.

For the first time in 24 years no political party was a front-runner especially in the northern part of the country. According to political analysts MPs were likely to be elected not because of their party policies but on the basis of their leadership style and personality. There was concern among the political parties over a slice of the population who remained undecided as well as those who were registered as eligible voters but had declared their desire to boycott elections due to splits in the major parties in the months prior to election day. The splits in the ruling coalition formed by the Vanua'aku Party the National United Party and the Vanuatu National Party (VNP) together with that of the Union of Moderate Parties (UMP) were bound to determine the outcome.

Foreign monitors from the Commonwealth Secretariat in London and the Pacific Islands Forum in Suva were in the country to check on the voting process.

With just some 120 000 registered voters turnout was critical because it could take relatively few votes to elect a member of Parliament. Turnout was mixed with one constituency reporting 90 per cent of registered voters casting their vote while only 41 per cent did so in another one.

Official results indicated that no one party would hold a majority in Parliament. The mainly English-speaking Vanu'aku and National United Parties together with their coalition partner the Greens now hold 20 seats dropping from 27 seats. The mainly French-speaking Union of Moderate Parties led by former Prime Minister Serge Vohor and its partners obtained 14 seats. There was a significant increase in the number of independent members of Parliament from six to nine. Some well-known leaders failed to get re-elected including the acting president Mr. Roger Abiut. Of the successful candidates 25 are new faces in Parliament.

More than 40 people were arrested on the island of Tanna for their alleged involvement in the burning of four ballot boxes. The boxes from this constituency on their way to the capital Port Vila to be checked were seized and burned by angry supporters of two losing candidates.

On 29 July 2004 Mr. Vohor was elected to lead the country once more after a close vote in the Parliament. In the vote Mr. Vohor defeated Mr. Ham Lini the candidate put up by the outgoing government 28 votes to 24.

His new coalition government is made up of several parties a number of independents and two disaffected senior members of the Vanua'aku Party Joe Nautaman and Sela Molisa. Earlier the Parliament had elected Mr. Josia Moli also a member of the UMP as its new Speaker.
Voter turnout
Round no 16 July 2004
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes

Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
National Unity Party (NUP)
Union of Moderate Parties (UMP)
Vanua'aku Pati (VP)
Vanuatu Republican Party (VRP)
People's Progress Party (PPP)
Melanesian Progressive Party
National Community Association (NCA)
Peoples Action Party (PAP)
Namangi Aute (NA)
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total
National Unity Party (NUP) 10
Union of Moderate Parties (UMP) 9
Independents 9
Vanua'aku Pati (VP) 8
Vanuatu Republican Party (VRP) 4
Greens 3
People's Progress Party (PPP) 3
Melanesian Progressive Party 2
National Community Association (NCA) 2
Peoples Action Party (PAP) 1
Namangi Aute (NA) 1
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Unofficial results

Source: Vanuatu Daily

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