Published 26th October, 2012
The Vanua’aku Pati or VP was originally known as the New Hebrides National Party before adopting its new title and was formed sometime in the 1970s by an Anglican priest, Father Walter Lini. The title is broadly translated as the Party of Our Land. It believes in socialist economic policies.
The new title was used from 1977 and the party led the country into independence in 1980. Walter Lini became the first prime minister of the new state and remained in post until 1991. During this period the party had won the 1979 election with 26 of the 39 seats in the Parliament of Vanuatu. In 1983 this dropped to 24 of 39 and in 1987 it was 25 of 46 seats.
In 1991 the party suffered a split and in the subsequent election it dropped to 10 of the 46 seats in the parliament. Despite this the party was still involved in government for part of the subsequent decade, winning 20 seats at the head of the Unity Front in 1995 and 18 seats on its own in the 1998 election.
The party entered the new millennium in a less positive position, winning only 14 of 52 seats in 2002 and 18 seats in 2004 but as part of a coalition with the Vanuatu National United Party. Still part of the coalition government for much of this period, the party was in opposition for a brief period before returning in July 2007.
The party ended up as the largest party in parliament in 2008 with 11 of the 52 seats in parliament. This allowed Edward Natapei to become prime minister once more but after a motion of no confidence he was ousted in June 2011 and replaced by Sato Kilman of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).