The politics of Vanuatu take place within the framework of a Parliamentary democracy political system which is currently headed by the President who has primarily ceremonial powers and who is elected for a 5-year term by a two-third majority of an electoral college. This Electoral College consists of Members of Parliament and the Presidents of Regional Councils. The Prime Minister who is head of government, is elected by a majority vote of three-fourths quorum of the Parliament. The Prime Minister in turn, appoints the Council of Ministers, whose numbers may not exceed a quarter of the number of Parliamentary representatives. The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers constitute the executive Government.
The national Council of Chiefs, called the Malvatumauri are composed of custom chiefs elected by their peers; advises the Parliament on all matters relating to custom and tradition; may make recommendations for preservation and promotion of ni-Vanuatu culture and languages. Besides national authorities and figures, Vanuatu also has high-placed people at the village level, chiefs continue to be the leading figures at the village level. By tradition, Custom chiefs exercise customary authority within local communities and the Malvatumauri have a constitutional role at village, island and provincial levels.
Local Government Organisational Structure and Characteristics
The Republic of Vanuatu is composed of six provinces: Malampa, Penama, Sanma, Shefa, Tafea and Torba. Each province is administered by a provincial council in addition to which there are three Municipal councils for the cities of Port Vila (Shefa), Luganville (Sanma), and Lenakal (Tafea). The Department of Local Authorities within the Ministry of Internal Affairs is responsible for overseeing local government.
Formally established in 1980, Port Vila Municipal Council holds jurisdiction over the formal Municipal area of the city, as legislated under the Municipalities Act, Cap. 126. The Municipality is governed by 17 representatives spread across four wards; ward councils were set up in July 2014, and comprise of representatives from the Council of Chiefs, the Vanuatu National Women’s Council, Church Groups, Youth Organisations and the Disabled Persons Association of Vanuatu. Councils are elected through an open constituency system for a term of four years, each ward elects two representatives who in turn will elect the mayor. The newly elected Honourable Lord Mayor Albert Sandy DANIEL is the 16th Mayor to be elected in the floors of the Council Chambers.
The Municipal Administration have revenue-raising powers. They are responsible for the control, management and administration of the municipality; to safeguard public health; handles primary education; to develop, control and manage land taken on lease from any statutory land authority including any housing estates thereon, refuse collection and disposal, cemeteries, roads, parks and open spaces and the promotion of tourism.