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. In the 2008 election, 28 parties and 92 independents contested the election, creating a potentially unstable political situation. Only 18 women stood out of 349 candidates in the 2008 election. Of the female candidates, 12 stood for political parties and 6 ran as independents. Two women were elected in 2008 – one was the incumbent and one was elected for the first time, and both were from provincial areas. The incumbent faced an election petition and lost the challenge in court. She was not elected in the subsequent by-election, such that there is only 1 woman MP in the current parliament.
The country is scheduled to hold its next snap general elections on 22 January 2016. For more details, please ‘click’ on the Current Elections tab under Vanuatu.