Vanuatu


Vanuatu
Vanuatuan, adj., n.
/vah'nooh ah"tooh/, n.
a republic consisting of a group of 80 islands in the S Pacific, ab. 1000 mi. (1600 km) NE of Australia: formerly under joint British and French administration; gained independence 1980. 181,358; ab. 5700 sq. mi. (14,763 sq. km). Cap.: Vila. Formerly, New Hebrides.

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Vanuatu

Introduction Vanuatu
Background: The British and French who settled the New Hebrides in the 19th century, agreed in 1906 to an Anglo- French Condominium, which administered the islands until independence in 1980. Geography Vanuatu -
Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about three- quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia
Geographic coordinates: 16 00 S, 167 00 E
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 12,200 sq km land: 12,200 sq km note: includes more than 80 islands water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 2,528 km
Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin contiguous zone: 24 NM
Climate: tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds
Terrain: mostly mountains of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: Tabwemasana 1,877 m
Natural resources: manganese, hardwood forests, fish
Land use: arable land: 2.46% permanent crops: 7.38% other: 90.16% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanism causes minor earthquakes; tsunamis Environment - current issues: a majority of the population does not have access to a potable and reliable supply of water; deforestation Environment - international party to: Antarctic-Marine Living
agreements: Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94 signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: a Y-shaped chain of four main islands and 80 smaller islands; several of the islands have active volcanoes People Vanuatu
Population: 196,178 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.6% (male 35,681; female 34,164) 15-64 years: 61.1% (male 61,384; female 58,473) 65 years and over: 3.3% (male 3,473; female 3,003) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.66% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 24.83 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 8.25 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1.16 male(s)/ female total population: 1.05 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 59.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 61.33 years female: 62.8 years (2002 est.) male: 59.93 years
Total fertility rate: 3.08 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA% HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Ni-Vanuatu (singular and plural) adjective: Ni-Vanuatu
Ethnic groups: indigenous Melanesian 98%, French, Vietnamese, Chinese, other Pacific Islanders
Religions: Presbyterian 36.7%, Anglican 15%, Roman Catholic 15%, indigenous beliefs 7.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6.2%, Church of Christ 3.8%, other 15.7% (including Jon Frum Cargo cult)
Languages: three official languages: English, French, pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama), plus more than 100 local languages
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 53% male: 57% female: 48% (1979 est.) Government Vanuatu
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Vanuatu conventional short form: Vanuatu former: New Hebrides
Government type: parliamentary republic
Capital: Port-Vila Administrative divisions: 6 provinces; Malampa, Penama, Sanma, Shefa, Tafea, Torba
Independence: 30 July 1980 (from France and UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 30 July (1980)
Constitution: 30 July 1980
Legal system: unified system being created from former dual French and British systems
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Father John BANI (since 25 March 1999) elections: president elected for a four-year term by an electoral college consisting of Parliament and the presidents of the regional councils for a five-year term; election for president last held 25 March 1999 (next to be held NA 2004); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition is usually elected prime minister by Parliament from among its members; election for prime minister last held 2 May 2002 (next to be held NA 2003) note: the government of Prime Minister Barak SOPE was ousted in a no confidence vote on 14 April 2001 and Edward NATAPEI was elected the new prime minister by Parliament election results: Father John BANI elected president; percent of electoral college vote - NA%; Edward NATAPEI reelected prime minister by Parliament cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, responsible to Parliament head of government: Prime Minister Edward NATAPEI (since 16 April 2001); Deputy Prime Minister Serge VOHOR (since 16 April 2001)
Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament (52 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) elections: last held 2 May 2002 (next to be held NA 2006) note: the National Council of Chiefs advises on matters of custom and land election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - UMP 15, VP 14, VRP 3, MPP 2, other and independent 18; note - political party associations are fluid
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (chief justice is appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, three other justices are appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission) Political parties and leaders: Jon Frum Movement [Song KEASPAI]; Melanesian Progressive Party or MPP [Barak SOPE]; National United Party or NUP [Dinh Van THAN]; Union of Moderate Parties or UMP [Serge VOHOR]; Vanuaaku Party (Our Land Party) or VP [Edward NATAPEI]; Vanuatu Republican Party [Maxime Carlot KORMAN] Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization ACCT, ACP, AsDB, C, ESCAP, FAO, G-
participation: 77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, NAM, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIBH, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTrO (observer) Diplomatic representation in the US: Vanuatu does not have an embassy in the US, it does, however, have a Permanent Mission to the UN Diplomatic representation from the the US does not have an embassy in
US: Vanuatu; the ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to Vanuatu
Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) all separated by a black-edged yellow stripe in the shape of a horizontal Y (the two points of the Y face the hoist side and enclose the triangle); centered in the triangle is a boar's tusk encircling two crossed namele leaves, all in yellow Economy Vanuatu -
Economy - overview: The economy is based primarily on subsistence or small-scale agriculture which provides a living for 65% of the population. Fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism, with about 50,000 visitors in 1997, are other mainstays of the economy. Mineral deposits are negligible; the country has no known petroleum deposits. A small light industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues come mainly from import duties. Economic development is hindered by dependence on relatively few commodity exports, vulnerability to natural disasters, and long distances from main markets and between constituent islands. A severe earthquake in November 1999 followed by a tsunami, caused extensive damage to the northern island of Pentecote and left thousands homeless. Another powerful earthquake in January 2002 caused extensive damage in the capital, Port-Vila, and surrounding areas, and also was followed by a tsunami. GDP growth has risen less than 3% on average in the 1990s. In response to foreign concerns, the government has promised to tighten regulation of its offshore financial center.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $257 million (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.7% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,300 (2000 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 26% industry: 12% services: 62% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.5% (2000 est.)
Labor force: NA Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 65%, services 30%, industry 5% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Budget: revenues: $94.4 million expenditures: $99.8 million, including capital expenditures of $30.4 million (1996 est.)
Industries: food and fish freezing, wood processing, meat canning Industrial production growth rate: 1% (1997 est.) Electricity - production: 39 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 36.27 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: copra, coconuts, cocoa, coffee, taro, yams, coconuts, fruits, vegetables; fish, beef
Exports: $22.8 million (f.o.b., 2000)
Exports - commodities: copra, kava, beef, cocoa, timber, coffee
Exports - partners: Japan 32%, Belgium 17%, US 17%, Germany 8% (2000)
Imports: $87.5 million (f.o.b., 2000)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, fuels
Imports - partners: Australia 28%, Singapore 14%, New Zealand 8%, Japan 4%, US 1% (2000)
Debt - external: $64.6 million (1999 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $45.8 million (1995)
Currency: vatu (VUV)
Currency code: VUV
Exchange rates: vatu per US dollar - 146.02 (December 2001), 145.31 (2001), 137.64 (2000), 129.08 (1999), 127.52 (1998), 115.87 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Vanuatu Telephones - main lines in use: 5,500 (1998) Telephones - mobile cellular: 310 (2000)
Telephone system: general assessment: NA domestic: NA international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 2, shortwave 1 (2002)
Radios: 67,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 1 (2002)
Televisions: 2,300 (1999)
Internet country code: .vu Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 3,000 (2000) Transportation Vanuatu
Railways: 0 km
Highways: total: 1,070 km paved: 256 km unpaved: 814 km (1996)
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Forari, Port-Vila, Santo (Espiritu Santo)
Merchant marine: total: 54 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,092,838 GRT/1,329,576 DWT ships by type: bulk 22, cargo 9, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 3, container 2, liquefied gas 3, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 7, vehicle carrier 6 note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Australia 3, Canada 2, China 1, Japan 25, Monaco 4, Netherlands 1, New Zealand 5, Panama 1, Poland 1, Switzerland 2, United Kingdom 4, US 2, Vietnam 1 (2002 est.)
Airports: 31 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 2 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 29 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 914 to 1,523 m: 10 under 914 m: 17 (2001) Military Vanuatu
Military branches: no regular military forces; Vanuatu Police Force (VPF; including the paramilitary Mobile Force or VMF) Military expenditures - dollar $NA
figure: Military expenditures - percent of NA%
GDP: Transnational Issues Vanuatu Disputes - international: Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by Vanuatu and France

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officially Republic of Vanuatu

Island country, South Pacific Ocean.

It consists of a chain of 12 principal and 60 smaller islands. Area: 4,707 sq mi (12,190 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 207,000. Capital: Vila. The population is mainly indigenous Melanesian; there are also small numbers of French, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Pacific islanders. Languages: Bislama, English, French (all official); Melanesian languages and dialects. Religion: Christianity, including Presbyterianism, Anglicanism, and Roman Catholicism. Currency: vatu. Extending 400 mi (650 km), Vanuatu includes the islands of Espíritu Santo, Malekula, Efate, Ambrim, Erromango, Tanna, Epi, Aneityum, and Maéwo and the Pentecost Islands. The larger islands are volcanic in origin and mountainous; there are several active volcanoes. Some of them, especially Efate and Malekula, have good harbours. The highest point is Mount Tabwémasana (6,165 ft [1,879 m]) on Espíritu Santo. The developing free-market economy is based mainly on agriculture, cattle raising, and fishing. Tourism is increasingly important. Vanuatu is a republic with a single legislative house; its head of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. The islands were inhabited for at least 3,000 years by Melanesian peoples before being discovered in 1606 by the Portuguese. They were rediscovered by French navigator Louis-Antoine de Bougainville in 1768, then explored by English mariner Capt. James Cook in 1744 and named New Hebrides. Sandalwood merchants and European missionaries arrived in the mid-19th century; they were followed by British and French cotton planters. Control of the group was sought by both the French and British, who agreed in 1906 to form a condominium government. During World War II a major Allied naval base was on Espíritu Santo; Vanuatu escaped Japanese invasion. New Hebrides became the independent Republic of Vanuatu in 1980. Much housing was ravaged by a hurricane in 1987.

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▪ 2009

Area:
12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi)
Population
(2008 est.): 233,000
Capital:
Port Vila
Chief of state:
President Kalkot Mataskelekele
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Ham Lini and, from September 22, Edward Natapei

      Vanuatu's economy grew at 5.7% in 2008, but it remained fragile, with GDP per capita rates having remained unchanged for some 20 years. Growth was slower in inaccessible rural areas, with continuing growth of squatter settlements. Despite the problems, tourism expanded by 8.5%, and low-cost regional airlines opened markets in Australia and New Zealand, which saw airline arrivals increase by 19%. Vanuatu sent its first 200 overseas seasonal workers to labour in New Zealand's horticulture industry, and the country was invited to participate in a parallel temporary-worker scheme to be set up in Australia. Remittances from these seasonal workers were expected to broaden the sources of Vanuatu's national income.

      A record 334 candidates contested Vanuatu's September 2 general election. While elections traditionally revolved around personality, in 2008 certain themes—including free education and health care, access to credit, and the promotion of opportunities for indigenous business—emerged as key electoral issues. In the event the Vanuaaku Pati (VP) earned the most seats in the parliament, and Edward Natapei of the VP formed a coalition government. Former prime minister Ham Lini of the National United Party was named deputy prime minister.

      On the international front, Port Vila became the headquarters of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), a political coalition of Melanesian states. In May Vanuatu hosted the MSG leaders' 2008 summit in its new secretariat building, which was provided by China.

Cluny Macpherson

▪ 2008

Area:
12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi)
Population
(2007 est.): 226,000
Capital:
Port Vila
Chief of state:
President Kalkot Mataskelekele
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ham Lini

      As Prime Minister Ham Lini managed to keep a large, fractious political coalition together in 2007, Vanuatu enjoyed continued political stability and a steady 3% rate of economic growth. Primary commodities (coconut oil, kava, copra, and beef), which contributed about 20% to total exports, increased with the resumption of kava exports, and growing demand for copra was expected to generate higher incomes for the 65% of the population that depended on agriculture. The commodities sector was expected to grow as a result of the government's successful use of coconut oil-based biofuel for power generation and the planned use of biofuel in the government's vehicle fleet. This had already resulted in a 5% savings on Vanuatu's fuel-import bill. Resultant foreign-exchange savings had increased foreign reserves, and the country's growth and stability generated new investment in Vanuatu, which was reflected in increased sales of land to investors and developers. Overseas investment was being promoted more systematically by the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority, which brought together the directorates of key ministries and established a “one-stop shop” for potential investors. Vanuatu's tourism was growing rapidly as a consequence of investment in hotels, increased airline services from major markets, and political uncertainty in nearby visitor destinations, such as Fiji and the Solomon Islands.

Cluny Macpherson

▪ 2007

Area:
12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi)
Population
(2006 est.): 215,000
Capital:
Vila
Chief of state:
President Kalkot Mataskelekele
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ham Lini

       Tourism, which produced 16% of Vanuatu's GDP and 75% of foreign earnings, was the major focus of government activity in 2006. Increased activity in the region by budget airlines, new hotel investment proposals, and buoyant Australian and New Zealand economies produced significant tourist growth. Rising international demand for coastal land in Vanuatu produced both economic growth and concern about its alienation. This growth offset weaknesses in agriculture caused by volatile prices for coconut products, declines in cocoa production volumes, and bans imposed on kava imports by Fiji (as part of an ongoing trade dispute) and Australia. Weakness in Vanuatu's agriculture sector was blamed for continued urban drift and increased youth crime.

      Despite these setbacks, the economy was expected to grow by 3.9% in 2006. The governor of the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu outlined a series of improvements in the economy and predicted further growth, but he warned stakeholders that significant increases would be achieved only if private-sector investment rose. This, in turn, depended on continued reform of the macroeconomy, creation of a stable policy environment, and improvements in infrastructure, governance, and law and order.

Cluny Macpherson

▪ 2006

Area:
12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi)
Population
(2005 est.): 211,000
Capital:
Vila
Chief of state:
President Kalkot Mataskelekele
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ham Lini

      In 2005 Prime Minister Ham Lini, president of the Penama Provincial Council and brother of founding prime minister the Rev. Walter Lini, made the restoration of Vanuatu's warm relations with China a high priority. In December 2004 the government of Prime Minister Serge Vohor had been defeated on a vote of no confidence when a number of ministers and other government supporters crossed the floor in opposition to Vohor's unilateral decision to shift diplomatic recognition from China to Taiwan. Lini, who was elected unopposed to lead a new coalition of 11 parties, consolidated his position in mid-2005 with a cabinet reshuffle.

      The government budget for 2005 was set at 8.9 billion vatu (about $84.2 million), with the minister of finance promising a surplus at year's end. Increased activity in the region by budget airlines and a buoyant Australian economy helped GDP growth in Vanuatu. The economy grew 3.5% in 2004, an improvement on 2003 (2.4%) and the preceding two-year recession. Australia and the EU increased aid in 2005, but both called for better governance and a willingness by Vanuatu to tackle mismanagement and corruption. An import fee levied on Fiji-made biscuits drew retaliatory licensing of Vanuatu exports to Fiji.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2005

Area:
12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi)
Population
(2004 est.): 216,000
Capital:
Vila
Chief of state:
Presidents John Bernard Bani, Roger Abuit (acting) from March 24, Alfred Maseng from April 12, Abuit (acting) from May 11, Josias Moli (acting) from July 29, and, from August 16, Kalkot Mataskelekele
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Edward Natapei and, from July 29, Serge Vohor

      After a long period of instability in Vanuatu, during which the cabinet was reshuffled several times and the president dismissed because of his criminal record, Prime Minister Edward Natapei of the Vanua'aku Party called a snap election in July 2004 rather than face a no-confidence vote in Parliament. He was defeated at the polls, and former prime minister Serge Vohor of the Union of Moderate Parties joined with the National United Party, minor parties, and independents to form a coalition government. The new government was immediately tested by a vote of no confidence, which it won 31–21 in the 52-member house. There was continuing political tension, however, with the police commissioner being suspended for issuing an arrest warrant against the prime minister for contempt in regard to remarks that were covered by parliamentary privilege. In November Vohor and the cabinet clashed over the prime minister's diplomatic recognition of Taiwan.

      In February the northern and central islands of Vanuatu were lashed by Cyclone Ivy, which caused damage to buildings and crops but no deaths. In September 120 kg (265 lb) of cocaine with a potential street value of $25 million was found buried on a beach just outside the capital, Vila.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2004

Area:
12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi)
Population
(2003 est.): 204,000
Capital:
Vila
Chief of state:
President John Bernard Bani
Head of government:
Prime Minister Edward Natapei

      The coalition government led by Prime Minister Edward Natapei remained in office during 2003 and, unusual for Vanuatu, seemed destined to complete its four-year term. Veteran politician and former prime minister Barak Sopé remained a controversial figure. Having been convicted of fraud and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three years in 2002, Sopé was pardoned by Pres. John Bernard Bani on health grounds after having served only a few months of his sentence. The chief electoral officer then ruled that because of the pardon Sopé was eligible to stand as a candidate in the November 2003 by-election. In late November the government was challenged by a parliamentary motion of censure but survived with the assistance of a cabinet reshuffle. The sense of instability was exacerbated when Sopé was victorious in the by-election and returned to Parliament.

      Under pressure from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Vanuatu agreed to change some of its tax-haven laws and to ensure greater transparency and information sharing with other jurisdictions. These concessions were sufficient for Vanuatu's removal in May from the OECD list of uncooperative nations. In another move that threatened Vanuatu's tax-haven business, Canberra announced that it was investigating a number of Vanuatu tax-avoidance schemes used by Australian citizens.

      Vanuatu contributed to the multinational Pacific police force sent to restore order in neighbouring Solomon Islands. Prime Minister Natapei attended the Japan-sponsored Pacific leaders meeting in Okinawa, visited New Caledonia on trade matters, and led a delegation to Paris. In May Vanuatu opened the world's first underwater post office, an event that provided an opportunity for divers to post waterproof postcards; a commemorative stamp was issued for the occasion.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2003

Area:
12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi)
Population
(2002 est.): 207,000
Capital:
Vila
Chief of state:
President John Bernard Bani
Head of government:
Prime Minister Edward Natapei

      In the May 2002 elections, Prime Minister Edward Natapei's Vanua'aku Party and its coalition partner, the Union of Moderate Parties, won 14 and 15 seats, respectively, in the 52-member Parliament. With additional support from independent members, Natapei was returned as prime minister. The election was monitored by Transparency International observers, who found fundamental flaws with the electoral roll and noted delays, discrepancies, and errors in counting and reporting of results.

      In July former prime minister Barak Sopé was jailed for fraud in connection with his signing of unauthorized government guarantees worth millions of dollars, but Pres. John Bernard Bani later pardoned and released him on medical grounds. The fragility of governance in Vanuatu was further demonstrated following the controversial appointment in August of Mael Apisai to the position of police commissioner and his subsequent arrest by police. Though the Supreme Court later ruled that the appointment and the arrest were invalid, the police paramilitary wing arrested the police who had arrested Apisai. After a customary reconciliation ceremony, involving presentations of pigs, the 26 charged agreed to appear in court; charges against 18 of the 26 were subsequently withdrawn. The eight remaining senior officers were charged with mutiny and incitement to mutiny; if convicted of the latter, they could face life imprisonment.

      Development assistance of $6 million–$9 million over three years from the Asian Development Bank was approved for infrastructure, agriculture, and private-sector projects. The economy suffered from the international downturn and especially from the continuing decline in copra prices and reduced tourism.

      Vanuatu remained a strong supporter of West Papua independence from Indonesia; it offered West Papua separatists the opportunity to establish an office in Port Vila.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2002

Area:
12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi)
Population
(2001 est.): 195,000
Capital:
Vila
Chief of state:
President John Bernard Bani
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Barak Sopé and, from April 13, Edward Natapei

      Vanuatu faced a political crisis in March 2001 when Prime Minister Barak Sopé lost support in Parliament and the speaker, a Sopé supporter, refused to allow consideration of a vote of no confidence. After the acting chief justice of the Supreme Court ruled that the speaker's action was unconstitutional, Sopé's government was defeated and replaced by a coalition of the Vanua'aku Party and the Union of Moderate Parties led by Prime Minister Edward Natapei. In November police attempts to search for documents related to Sopé's controversial business dealings while in office were thwarted by armed villagers.

      In late September 2001, Finance Minister Joe Carl met with representatives of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Vila, where he expressed his concern over the pressure exerted by the OECD in demanding details of the island's international tax-haven revenue. In June 2000 the OECD had included Vanuatu on a list of nations that sheltered money-laundering activities and maintained unacceptable taxation structures and had threatened sanctions unless action was taken to address the situation. Carl complained that the OECD had not offered an alternative means whereby the country could raise revenue. In October 2001 Vanuatu was accepted for membership (effective in November) in the World Trade Organization. Vanuatu's annual exports totaled about $25 million, mostly coconut products, beef, cocoa, timber, and kava root. Tourism strengthened in the wake of violence and political instability in neighbouring Fiji and the Solomon Islands. In November Natapei rejected suggestions that Vanuatu might offer refugee-processing facilities for asylum seekers (mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq) arriving in Australian waters via Indonesia.

      The release of the 1999 census report indicated that the population of Vanuatu at that time was 186,678, an increase of 31% over 1989.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2001

Area:
12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi)
Population
(2000 est.): 199,000
Capital:
Vila
Chief of state:
President John Bernard Bani
Head of government:
Prime Minister Barak Sopé

      During 2000 the newly elected government of Barak Sopé embarked on a program to address government debts that in 1999 had stood at $70 million. A controversy arose, however, when a Thai company seeking tax-exempt status under Vanuatu law agreed to pay $5.4 million annually for five years to assist in the debt repayment.

      A confrontation ensued between Parliament and Pres. John Bernard Bani over controversial legislation that would allow for greater political control over the public service; the plan was opposed by the Asian Development Bank. The Supreme Court ruled, however, that Bani could not withhold his consent. In August, Deputy Prime Minister Stanley Reginald was forced to resign after charges of misconduct and was replaced by James Bule, the trade minister. Attempts by the opposition to generate support for a parliamentary vote of no confidence failed, and the government retained a working majority in Parliament.

      Another controversy surfaced when the candidates' fee for provincial elections scheduled for late October was set at 100,000 vatu (about $700), which led some parties, considering the fees excessive, to call for a boycott of nominations. Vanuatu contributed a paramilitary force of 33 to support UN peacekeeping in East Timor and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 2000

Area:
12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi)
Population
(1999 est.): 187,000
Capital:
Vila
Chief of state:
Presidents Jean-Marie Léyé, Edward Natapei (acting) from March 2, and, from March 24, John Bernard Bani
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Donald Kalpokas and, from November 25, Barak Sopé

      Political instability continued throughout 1999. In March there was a minor constitutional crisis when the electoral college, which was about evenly divided between government and opposition supporters, had difficulty in choosing among the 23 candidates for president. In July petitions against three politicians (including former prime minister Serge Vohor) were dismissed by the Supreme Court. In October, 17 members of the Union of Moderate Parties, a major presence in the government coalition, refused party instructions to resign and were suspended from party membership; the suspensions were declared invalid by the Supreme Court. Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson, Vanuatu's first ombudsman, who had systematically attacked incompetence and corruption in government, was not reappointed to a second term.

      In January Cyclone Dani caused widespread damage, which led to Asian Development Bank funding of $2 million for rebuilding the infrastructure. An earthquake and related tsunami struck Pentecost Island in November and caused 10 deaths, many injuries, and widespread property damage. Political instability, the Asian economic crisis, devaluation, and falling agricultural exports meant a poor economic performance; gross domestic product rose by only 0.2% in the first half of the year.

      In February the Rev. Walter Lini, Vanuatu's founding prime minister, died after a long illness. (See Obituaries (Lini, the Rev. Walter Hayde ).)

Barrie Macdonald

▪ 1999

      Area: 12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 182,000

      Capital: Vila

      Chief of state: President Jean-Marie Leye

      Head of government: Prime Ministers Serge Vohor and, from March 30, Donald Kalpokas

      In a national election in March 1998 for 52 seats in Parliament, the Vanua'aku (Unity Front) Party won 18, the Union of Moderate Parties 12, the National United Party 11, and others 11. Donald Kalpokas, leader of the Vanua'aku Party and former vice president, formed a coalition government with the National United Party on March 30. The coalition collapsed within a few months, after which Kalpokas formed a new coalition with the Union of Moderate Parties.

      Despite the previous government's repeal of enabling legislation, Kalpokas's government maintained the office of ombudsman. Ombudsman Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson had been criticized because of a series of damning reports on ministerial behaviour and corruption in government—most recently over the illegal issue of passports, misuse of cyclone-relief funds by the prime minister, and the misappropriation of retirement funds; the latter led to riots and a state of emergency when subscribers tried to withdraw their savings. During the year the government announced the privatization of airports and in August introduced a 12.5% value-added tax.

BARRIE MACDONALD

▪ 1998

      Area: 12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 176,000

      Capital: Vila

      Chief of state: President Jean-Marie Leye

      Head of government: Prime Minister Serge Vohor

      The aftermath of earlier financial mismanagement issues continued to influence political developments in Vanuatu in 1997. In October 1996, after a no-confidence vote against the government of Maxime Carlot Korman, Serge Vohor emerged as prime minister heading a coalition of his own Union of Moderate Parties, the Melanesian Progressive Party of Deputy Prime Minister Barak Sope, and the National United Party led by former prime minister Walter Lini. Shortly afterward, Vohor sacked Sope after damaging revelations were made by the national ombudsman, who recommended that Sope be banned from all public office because of his alleged role in a financial scandal. Vohor then brought Donald Kalpokas of the Vanua'aku Party into the government as deputy prime minister, only to replace him with Sope in May. In late 1997 the legislature voted to greatly reduce the powers of the ombudsman, charging that its investigations concentrated only on politicians. Pres. Jean-Marie Leye refused to sign the bill into law, however, until its constitutionality had been tested in court.

      Opposition to Vohor continued to mount, and late in the year members of the legislature sought to oust him on a motion of no confidence. In late November Leye, frustrated with the political wrangling, dissolved the legislature and called for new elections in January 1998. On December 4 a Supreme Court judge overturned Leye's order, nullifying the dissolution of the legislature and triggering a frenzied day of activity. Vohor's opponents called for a legislative debate of the no-confidence motion, while the administration filed a last-minute appeal. By early the next day, Vohor and his opponents had agreed to a parliamentary truce until a hearing by the Court of Appeal could be convened.

BARRIE MACDONALD
      This article updates Vanuatu.

▪ 1997

      The republic of Vanuatu, a member of the Commonwealth, comprises 12 main islands and some 60 smaller ones in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Area: 12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 172,000. Cap.: Vila. Monetary unit: vatu, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of 111.01 vatu to U.S. $1 (174.87 vatu = £1 sterling). President in 1996, Jean-Marie Leye; prime ministers, Serge Vohor until February 8, Maxime Carlot Korman from February 23 to September 30, and, from September 30, Vohor.

      Prime Minister Serge Vohor, who took power in December 1995, retained a majority for less than two months before resigning in February 1996 in anticipation of a vote of no confidence. Former prime minister Maxime Carlot Korman returned to office but was plagued by scandal. In July the ombudsman recommended a reprimand for Carlot. A further split within government ranks in September allowed Vohor to again become prime minister.

      In August the Vanuatu Mobile Force (VMF), a paramilitary unit, went on strike over unpaid salary arrears totaling almost $1 million and in October briefly abducted Pres. Jean-Marie Leye before negotiating a settlement with the government. On November 12 the Vanuatu police arrested all VMF officers and did not release them until they had taken an oath of allegiance.

      (BARRIE MACDONALD)

      This article updates Vanuatu.

▪ 1996

      The republic of Vanuatu, a member of the Commonwealth, comprises 12 main islands and some 60 smaller ones in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Area: 12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 168,000. Cap.: Vila. Monetary unit: vatu, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of 112.30 vatu to U.S. $1 (172.53 vatu = £1 sterling). President in 1995, Jean-Marie Leye; prime ministers, Maxime Carlot Korman and, from December 21, Serge Vohor.

      Late in 1994 the government sought a Supreme Court ruling on controversial uses of the president's judicial power. In mid-1995 Supreme Court Judge Robert Kent resigned, claiming that the chief justice was too closely linked to the government and was acting in its interest.

      In 1994 the government had restructured the provincial councils, and after subsequent elections two councils each were controlled by the Unity Front (UF), the Vanuatu National United Party (VNUP), and the Union of Moderate Parties (UMP). The November elections gave no party a majority. The UF took 20 of the 50 seats, the UMP 17, and the VNUP 9.

      Tax issues were the subject of debate in 1995, with local businesses seeking the same tax advantages that applied to offshore companies. A 4% turnover tax went into effect on import, export, and retail businesses on April 1.

      When French nuclear testing resumed in September, Vanuatu refused to join the other members of the South Pacific Forum in their condemnation, on the grounds that it was France's domestic matter. (BARRIE MACDONALD)

      This updates the article Vanuatu.

▪ 1995

      The republic of Vanuatu, a member of the Commonwealth, comprises 12 main islands and some 60 smaller ones in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Area: 12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 164,000. Cap.: Vila. Monetary unit: vatu, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 113.50 vatu to U.S. $1 (180.52 vatu = £1 sterling). Presidents in 1994, Fred Timakata, Alfred Masseng (acting) from January 31, and, from March 2, Jean-Marie Leye; prime minister, Maxime Carlot Korman.

      Political instability remained throughout 1994, with difficulties within and between the government coalition partners—Prime Minister Maxime Carlot Korman's Union of Moderate Parties (UMP) and former prime minister Walter Lini's National United Party. When Lini withdrew from the coalition in April, three of his ministers remained and were expelled from the party. Led by Sethy Regenvanu, they formed the People's Democratic Party and joined in a new governing coalition with Carlot Korman.

      In February an electoral college composed of 46 members of Parliament and 10 presidents of local government bodies failed on two occasions to elect a new president with the required two-thirds majority. On a third attempt, in March, Jean-Marie Leye, Carlot Korman's nominee and a former vice president of the UMP, was elected.

      In its 1994 budget the government announced a 5% increase in public service salaries and at the same time determined that more than 200 public service jobs would be eliminated. The number of public service workers had increased from 3,300 in 1985 to 4,800 in 1993. Government revenue for 1994 was estimated at 5,354,000,000 vatu, with the growth of gross domestic product projected at 2%. (BARRIE MACDONALD)

      This updates the article Vanuatu.

▪ 1994

      The republic of Vanuatu, a member of the Commonwealth, comprises 12 main islands and some 60 smaller ones in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Area: 12,190 sq km (4,707 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 160,000. Cap.: Vila. Monetary unit: vatu, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of 123.03 vatu to U.S. $1 (186.39 vatu = £1 sterling). President in 1993, Fred Timakata; prime minister, Maxime Carlot Korman.

      There was a period of political instability at the end of 1992 when former prime minister Walter Lini's National United Party, a junior coalition member in the ruling Union of Moderate Parties of Prime Minister Maxime Carlot Korman, dismissed six officials, including two Cabinet ministers, and Lini temporarily withdrew his support. A Cabinet reshuffle followed, with the prime minister assuming the foreign affairs portfolio. Carlot Korman managed to survive with a tenuous parliamentary majority but had further troubles in August 1993 when Lini's party withdrew from the government. The minister of finance resigned in November, leaving the government in a precarious position.

      Controversy of another kind followed the passing late in 1992 of legislation that would have allowed the minister of finance to revoke a business license without reason or appeal. The acting high commissioner for Australia was expelled for expressing opposition to the legislation, which was subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court.

      A bilingual television service was established in Vanuatu in 1993. Most programming would be based on a mixture of French material and English-language programs from New Zealand. (BARRIE MACDONALD)

      This updates the article Vanuatu.

* * *

Introduction
   country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, consisting of a chain of 13 principal and many smaller islands located about 500 miles (800 km) west of Fiji and 1,100 miles (1,770 km) east of Australia. The islands extend north-south for some 400 miles (650 km) in an irregular Y shape. The Torres Islands are the northernmost group. Southward from the Torres group, the main islands are Vanua Lava and Santa Maria (Gaua) in the Banks Islands group, Espiritu Santo, Aoba (Ambae), Maéwo, Pentecost, Malakula, Ambrym, Épi, Éfaté, Erromango, Tanna, and Anatom. Some 200 miles (320 km) to the southeast of Anatom, two uninhabited islands, Hunter (Hunter Island) and Matthew (Matthew Island), are claimed by both Vanuatu and France (as part of New Caledonia). Formerly the jointly administered Anglo-French condominium of the New Hebrides, Vanuatu achieved independence in 1980. The name Vanuatu means “Our Land Forever” in many of the locally used Melanesian languages. The capital, largest city, and commercial centre is Port-Vila (Vila), on Éfaté.

Land (Vanuatu)
 A diverse relief—ranging from rugged mountains and high plateaus to rolling hills and low plateaus, with coastal terraces and offshore coral reefs—characterizes the islands. Sedimentary and coral limestones and volcanic rock predominate; frequent earthquakes indicate structural instability. Active volcanoes are found on several islands, including Séré'ama on Vanua Lava, Manaro on Aoba, Garet on Santa Maria, the twin volcanic vents of Benbow and Marum on Ambrym, and Yasur on Tanna. There are also several submarine volcanoes in the group, and some islands have solfataras (solfatara) or fumaroles (fumarole). The highest point is Tabwémasana, 6,165 feet (1,879 metres), on Espiritu Santo (Espiritu Santo), the largest island. There are two seasons—hot and wet from November to April, and cooler and drier from May to October. The southeast trades are the prevailing winds, although northerlies during the hot season provide most of the heavy rainfall. Annual precipitation varies from about 80 inches (2,000 mm) in the south to some 160 inches (4,000 mm) in the northern islands. Much of the group is covered by dense rain forest, but drier regions have patches of savanna grassland. Abundant bird and insect life contrasts with the sparse fauna. Of the approximately 10 types of bats found in Vanuatu, three are found only there.

People (Vanuatu)
 The indigenous population, called ni-Vanuatu, is overwhelmingly Melanesian, though some of the outlying islands have Polynesian populations. There are also small minorities of Europeans, Micronesians, Chinese, and Vietnamese. Roughly three-fourths of the population lives in rural areas, but since independence the urban centres of Luganville and Port-Vila have drawn a significant number of people attracted by better opportunities. More than 100 local Melanesian languages and dialects are spoken; Bislama, an English-based Melanesian pidgin (Melanesian pidgins), is the national language and, along with English and French, is one of three official languages. Some seven-tenths of the population is Protestant, and of that proportion about one-third is Presbyterian. Other denominations and religions include Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, traditional beliefs, and cargo cults (cargo cult).

Economy
      Subsistence agriculture has traditionally been the economic base of Vanuatu, together with an elaborate exchange network within and between islands. Economic changes occurred with the development of European plantations in the island group after 1867: cotton was the initial crop, followed by corn (maize), coffee, cocoa beans, and coconuts (for copra). Cattle ranching was instituted later. By the 1880s French planters had reversed the initial British domination of the plantation sector, though they too found it increasingly difficult to compete with ni-Vanuatu producers, who could fall back on subsistence agriculture in times of economic downturn. French hopes of economic hegemony, based on high world prices for copra and the importation of Vietnamese labour in the 1920s, were dashed by the Great Depression of the 1930s. By 1948 most of the copra in the island group was being produced by the ni-Vanuatu themselves, though it was not until the development of cooperatives in the 1970s that they were finally able to assume control of the trade.

      Kava, beef, copra, timber, and cocoa are the most important exports; the European Union, Australia, New Caledonia, and Japan are the main export destinations. Imports—mainly of machinery and transport equipment, food and live animals, and mineral fuels—come principally from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Singapore. Because of its vulnerability to weather and commodity market fluctuations, Vanuatu is working toward supplementing large-scale agriculture with stronger extractive, manufacturing, and service sectors to foster its long-term economic growth.

      Since independence, Vanuatu's tourism and offshore financial services have emerged as the largest earners of foreign income. The growing lucre generated by tourism has attracted the attention of foreign companies seeking to develop land into resorts and other attractions. Although, according to the 1980 constitution, all land in Vanuatu is under ni-Vanuatu customary collective ownership and cannot be sold to foreigners, increasing interest from abroad in the late 20th and early 21st centuries prompted the government to allow land to be leased for 75-year periods. Such leases were often negotiated to the disadvantage of ni-Vanuatu, however; many included, for example, a provision that, at the end of the 75 years, the customary owners could regain their lands only by paying in full the cost of any development. In the early 21st century there was concern that such provisions would mean the permanent alienation of customarily owned lands.

      Forestry, important in the islands' early colonial history but later eclipsed by plantation agriculture, has also grown in importance. Much of the country is forested (including areas of sandalwood and other valuable tropical species). Because the majority of trees felled during the 1980s were exported as unsawn logs, in the early 1990s the government banned exports of roundwood and limited the annual harvest. Earnings from processed wood (mostly sawn on small portable mills) grew as a result, and wood products accounted for a small but significant proportion of exports in the early 21st century. The sale of commercial fishing rights is another important source of foreign revenue, and there is extensive small-scale fishing for local consumption. Mining of manganese ore on Éfaté ended in the 1970s, but later surveys identified a number of remaining deposits there as well as the likely existence of exploitable gold, copper, and petroleum reserves elsewhere in the islands.

      On most of Vanuatu's islands, unpaved roads link coastal settlements; there are few interior roads. Interisland transportation is by boat or airplane. Major airports are located near Port-Vila, near Luganville on Espiritu Santo, and on the northwest side of Tanna. Many smaller airfields are scattered throughout the islands.

Government and society
 Under the terms of the 1980 constitution, the president, who serves as head of state, is elected to a five-year term by an electoral college made up of the unicameral Parliament and the presidents of the Regional Councils. Members of Parliament are elected to four-year terms on the basis of universal franchise. Parliament elects the chief executive, the prime minister, from among its members; the prime minister then appoints a Council of Ministers. The constitution also provides for a National Council of Chiefs (chief) (Malvatumauri), composed of elected “custom chiefs,” which advises the government on matters relating to custom and tradition. Provincial authorities are responsible for local governmental functions.

      The Supreme Court is the ultimate judicial arbiter of both civil and criminal matters. There are also a court of appeal and magistrates' courts, and island courts may be established by warrant to rule on land disputes. Since independence, defense has been provided through a pact with Papua New Guinea. Vanuatu has no regular military, but the country's police force operates a domestic paramilitary unit, the Vanuatu Mobile Force.

      Health care in Vanuatu consists of a main hospital in Vila supplemented by smaller hospitals, clinics, and dispensaries on the other islands. Malaria, tuberculosis, hookworm, and gastroenteritis are the most common diseases.

      Although attempts have been made since independence to institute a single, English-speaking education system, ongoing economic aid from France for the maintenance of the Francophone school system has ensured that about half of ni-Vanuatu children receive French-language instruction. Education is free and compulsory for ages 6 to 12, but only about one-third of ni-Vanuatu children undertake postprimary education. The country's school attendance and adult literacy rates are among the lowest in the Pacific, a situation exacerbated by rapid population growth, the distance between settlements, and a shortage of teachers and classrooms in remote areas. The University of the South Pacific's Emalus Campus at Port-Vila (opened in 1989) provides undergraduate and graduate education; the university's law school is there, and students may also study at the university's main campus in Suva, Fiji. A small number of ni-Vanuatu pursue higher education in Papua New Guinea or in France.

Cultural life
      The overwhelming majority of ni-Vanuatu are subsistence agriculturalists, living in small rural villages where activities revolve around the land. The constitution guarantees that land cannot be alienated from its “indigenous custom owners,” or traditional owners, and their descendants. More than an economic resource, land is the physical embodiment of the metaphysical link with the past, and identification with a particular tract of land (expressed by the Bislama phrase man ples) remains one of the fundamental concepts governing ni-Vanuatu culture, although foreign developers have gained control over some land through long-term leases.

      On many islands, men gather nightly at their local nakamal (men's house) to drink kava and communicate with the spirits of their ancestors, whose bones typically are buried nearby. Through magic stones, they attempt to contact and control the spiritual realm they view as all-pervasive. Among the vast majority of rural dwellers, kastom (custom), along with Christianity, continues to guide daily life.

History (Vanuatu)
      Archaeological evidence indicates that, by 1300 BCE, islands in northern Vanuatu had been settled by people of the Lapita culture from Melanesian islands to the west. Since then, there have been successive waves of migrants, including people of Polynesian origin on the southern islands of Aniwa and Futuna (not to be confused with Futuna Island in the French overseas collectivity of Wallis and Futuna). About 1200, a highly stratified society developed in central Vanuatu with the arrival (from the south, according to tradition) of the great chief Roy Mata (or Roymata). His death was marked by an elaborate ritual that included the burying alive of one man and one woman from each of the clans under his influence.

      European contact began with the Portuguese explorer Pedro Fernández de Quirós (1606), followed by the French navigator Louis-Antoine de Bougainville (Bougainville, Louis-Antoine de) (1768) and the British captain James Cook (Cook, James) (1774). Cook mapped the island group and named it the New Hebrides. European missionaries and sandalwood traders settled on the fringes of islands from the 1840s, but their impact on the indigenous people was minimal. Significant cultural change occurred only after the 1860s as thousands of ni-Vanuatu men and women who had been indentured to work on plantations in Fiji and New Caledonia and in Queensland, Australia, began to return to their homes. Many established new forms of political influence within the network of Protestant (mainly Presbyterian) missions or successfully competed against European traders and planters in the group. To protect the interests of the mainly British (British Empire) missionaries and mainly French planters, the British and French governments established rudimentary political control with a Joint Naval Commission in 1887.

      This arrangement was succeeded in 1906 by an Anglo-French condominium, under which resident commissioners in the capital, Port-Vila, retained responsibility over their own nationals and jointly ruled the indigenous people. This administrative arrangement had only a slight impact, however, on most ni-Vanuatu, whose chief European contact continued to be with either missionaries or planters. The islands became a major Allied base during World War II, when the spectacle of free-spending African American troops inspired the transformation of the Jon (or John) Frum cargo cult on Tanna into an important anti-European political movement. After the war, local political initiatives originated in concern over land ownership. At that time more than one-third of the New Hebrides continued to be owned by foreigners.

      Independence was agreed upon at a 1977 conference in Paris attended by British, French, and New Hebridean representatives. Elections were held, and a constitution was drawn up in 1979. Despite an unsuccessful attempt in mid-1980 by Jimmy Stevens, the Na-Griamel Party leader, to establish the independence of the island of Espiritu Santo from the rest of the group, the New Hebrides became independent within the Commonwealth under the name of the Republic of Vanuatu on July 30, 1980; the next month it entered into a defense pact with Papua New Guinea to replace the British and French forces that formerly had defended the islands. In 1982 Vanuatu claimed the uninhabited islands of Matthew (Matthew Island) and Hunter (Hunter Island), about 155 miles (250 km) southeast of Anatom and part of the same archipelago as Vanuatu, in order to expand its exclusive economic zone. France disputed the claim, and the issue continued into the early 21st century without resolution.

      The Vanua'aku Pati (VP, “Our Land Party”), headed by Father Walter Lini, formed the first parliamentary majority, with Lini as prime minister. The VP retained slim majorities under Lini's leadership throughout the 1980s. Lini's government pursued a nonaligned foreign policy, establishing diplomatic and economic ties with the major capitalist countries as well as with the Soviet Union, China, Libya, and Cuba. In mid-1991, after no-confidence votes from both the VP's congress and Parliament, Lini was succeeded as party leader and as prime minister by Donald Kalpokas. For the December 1991 general election, Lini and his supporters formed the National United Party (NUP), which won enough seats to form a coalition government with the former opposition, the Union of Moderate Parties (UMP), under the francophone prime minister Maxime Carlot Korman.

      Carlot Korman retained the post through a series of coalition governments until the 1995 general election, which initiated six years of unstable parliamentary coalitions with six changes of prime minister, including additional terms for former premiers Carlot Korman and Kalpokas and two brief terms for Rialuth Serge Vohor of the UMP. Several of the administrations (notably Carlot Korman's and that headed by Barak Sope of the Melanesian Progressive Party in 1999–2001) came apart amid charges of official corruption and criminal activity. Despite the ongoing political turmoil, the government in 1997 adopted a comprehensive reform program funded by the Asian Development Bank, the main objectives of which were to reform the civil service and other public-sector institutions, improve infrastructure, and attract increased foreign investment. Although the frequent changes of government in the late 20th and early 21st centuries indicated a sometimes fragile stability, overall Vanuatu was considered one of the more peaceful and successful countries of the region.

Ron Adams Sophie Foster

Additional Reading
General introductions are found in Jocelyn Harewood, Tione Chula, and Vincent Talbot, Vanuatu & New Caledonia, 5th ed. (2006); and Norman Douglas and Ngaire Douglas, Pacific Islands Yearbook, 17th ed. (1994). José Garanger, Archaeology of the New Hebrides: Contribution to the Knowledge of the Central Islands (1982; originally published in French, 1972), provides an account of the excavation of Roy Mata's burial site. Michael Allen (ed.), Vanuatu: Politics, Economics, and Ritual in Island Melanesia (1981), contains comparative ethnographic studies. University of the South Pacific, Institute of Pacific Studies, Vanuatu (1980), has contributions by leading ni-Vanuatu figures. Historical information may be found in Jeremy MacClancy, To Kill a Bird with Two Stones: A Short History of Vanuatu, 3rd ed. (2002); and Ron Adams, In the Land of Strangers: A Century of European Contact with Tanna, 1774–1874 (1984), an account of the first hundred years of European contact.Sophie Foster

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Universalium. 2010.

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