Tahitian-born Kalosil elected Vanuatu premier

Tahitian-born Moana Carcasses Kalosil has been elected the new prime minister of Vanuatu to end a tumultuous few days of politics in the Pacific archipelago.

In a parliamentary ballot, he received 34 votes in the 52-member parliament on Saturday after the previous prime minister Sato Kilman resigned to avoid a no confidence motion.

Kalosil, who has held several cabinet posts over the past 10 years, was one of eight MPs to cross the floor and join the opposition ranks last Thursday in an attempt to oust Kilman.

When Kilman resigned, parliamentary speaker Georges Wells initially said there would be an extraordinary session of parliament on March 29 to elect a new premier.

But following an appeal by opposition leader Edward Natapei this was overturned by the Supreme Court which ruled the suspension of parliament was unlawful and ordered the election take place on Saturday.

Kilman and his supporters objected to Kalosil standing for the leadership and did not take part in the election on the grounds that he was not an indigenous resident although he is a naturalised citizen.

He becomes the first non-Vanuatu born leader of the country which gained independence in 1980 after previously being jointly administered by Britain and France.

Vanuatu, with a population of 240,000, is an archipelago of more than 80 islands lying about 1,900 kilometres (1,180 miles) northeast of the Australian city of Brisbane.

It has changed prime minister 10 times since 2008 in a series of elections, no-confidence motions and legal challenges to parliamentary votes.