Vanuatu has a population of approximately 250,000 people. The National Parliament has 52 members. Elections are held every 4 years. There are 17 constituencies used, with between 1 and 7-member constituencies. Vanuatu uses the single-non-transferable-vote system.
Since Independence, only five women have been elected to Parliament. An amendment to the Municipalities Act passed in 2013 has allowed for a 30 per cent quota for women’s representation within some of the municipal councils of Vanuatu. The adoption of quota mechanisms at municipal level was initiated by the Director of Women’s Affairs to tackle the issue of attitudinal resistance of women’s political participation. It was intended to begin a gradual approach moving from the lowest level of government, the municipal councils, to provincial governments and finally to the national parliament. The adoption of this legislation has seen an increase in the number of women within the municipal councils.
A total of 261 candidates contested the January 2016 general elections, with 68 independents and 193 candidates from 36 political parties. 10 women contested in the 2016 election representing 3.8% of all candidates. Unfortunately, no women have been elected into the current Parliament.
Vanuatu held its latest elections on 19th March 2020. At the end of the nomination process on 11th February 2020, there were a total of 295 candidates, of which 17 are women (6%). A total of 50 political parties, and 55 independent candidates (19.1%) were registered in the lead up to elections. The big parties are Vanuaku Party (VP) with 9% of total candidates, Leaders Party of Vanuatu (LPV) with 8% of total candidates, Union of Moderate Pati (UMP) with 7% of total candidates, Reunification Movement of Change (RMC) with 6% of total candidates and Graon Mo Jastis Pati (GJP) with 5% of total candidates. Unfortunately, following the announcement of election results, no women were elected into Parliament for the 2020 general elections.
No Women MPs