West Papua (AP) – Vanuatu’s parliament has elected a new prime minister, Bob Loughman, who has been the leader of Vanua’aku Pati since 2018. Loughman defeated Ralph Regenvanu in a ballot in parliament, with 31 votes to 21, with the support Ishmael Kalsakau, the head of the Union of Moderate Parties in Vanuatu and the current leader of the opposition, who has led the opposition bloc for the past four years.
In a turn, the previous prime minister, Charlot Salwai, put forward the Port Vila MP Ralph Regenvanu to take him on. Mr Regenvanu leads the Graon mo Jastis Pati, which won the most seats in last month’s election.
Loughman is a member of the Vanua’aku Pati and has been a MP for Tanna since general election on 6 July 2004. He was re-elected in 2008 and 2012. In March 2013, following a change in government, new Prime Minister Moana Carcasses appointed him Minister for Education. Like other members of the Vanua’aku Pati, he crossed the floor on 15 May 2014 to help bring down the Carcasses government. However, New Prime Minister Joe Natuman maintained Loughman at his post as Minister for Education. He lost office on 11 June 2015 when the Natuman government was ousted in a motion of no confidence.