Sato Kilman

Sato Kilman is a Vanuatu politician.

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Sato Kilman is a Vanuatu politician. He was Prime Minister of Vanuatu from December 2010 to April 2011 and from May to June 2011, though his premiership was subsequently annulled by a court of law. He was elected Prime Minister again on 26 June 2011, thus beginning his first legally recognised term in the premiership; he is the current Prime Minister. He is also the current Leader of the People's Progress Party. He is an MP from Lakatoro on Malekula Island.[1]

Kilman and Ham Lini led the opposition to the Serge Vohor government when it took office in July 2004. Soon, however, Lini joined a coalition government with Vohor. Kilman then became known as the leader of the opposition, and became a particularly strong critic of Vohor's attempts to establish relations with Taiwan. In December 2004, Kilman filed the no confidence motion which deposed Vohor and made Lini prime minister. In the new cabinet established on 13 December 2004, Kilman was rewarded by becoming Lini's deputy, as well as taking the position of foreign minister.

Kilman was dismissed from the government in a cabinet reshuffle in late July 2007. According to the government, this was due to alleged fraud, involving money stolen from the government, in which Kilman's political secretary was said to be involved.[2]

Following the 2008 general election, the People's Progress Party was in Opposition, as part of the Alliance bloc. In March 2009, Kilman was named leader of the Opposition, because the Alliance bloc had the largest number of seats of any Opposition party or alliance.[3] In November 2009, however, during a major Cabinet reshuffle, Kilman was brought into Natapei's government as deputy Prime Minister.[4]

On 2 December 2010 Kilman was appointed Prime Minister after Edward Natapei was ousted in a vote of no confidence.[5] Kilman was himself narrowly ousted in a vote of no confidence on 24 April 2011 (Easter Sunday), by twenty-six votes to twenty-five; Serge Vohor succeeded him.[6]

Vohor's election was declared invalid on 13 May 2011, as he only had a relative majority, and not an absolute one.[7]

On 16 June, however, Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek ruled in a separate case put forward by Edward Natapei, contesting the constitutionality of Kilman's initial election in December 2010. Lunabek ruled that Kilman's election to office had indeed been unconstitutional, as "[t]he speaker of Parliament Maxime Carlot Korman [had] appointed Mr Kilman prime minister without following article 41 of the constitution which required he be elected by secret ballot". Kilman's premiership was annulled, and Natapei was restored as interim Prime Minister, instructed to convene Parliament for the election of a new Prime Minister.[8] [9] Ironically, as Natapei's ministers were restored as interim ministers, Kilman reverted to being Natapei's interim deputy prime minister - a position he was expected to hold only for a few days.[10]

On 26 June, Kilman stood for the premiership, and was elected by Parliament, with 29 votes to Serge Vohor's 23.[11]


  1. "Kilman Takes Over as Vanuatu Prime Minister, Natapei falls to Vanuatu’s fickle parliament". Radio Australia (Pacific Islands Report). 2 December 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
  2. "Vanuatu ministers fall over fraud allegation", ABC Radio Australia, 31 July 2007.
  3. "Vanuatu opposition name Kilman as new leader". Radio New Zealand International. 4 March 2009.
  4. "Vanuatu PM counters challenge with major reshuffle". Radio New Zealand International. 18 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
  5. "Vanuatu’s Natapei ousted in no confidence challenge". Radio New Zealand International. 2 December 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  6. "Vohor takes Vanuatu's top job but instability expected to continue", ABC Radio Australia, 25 April 2011
  7. "Appeal court restores Kilman as Vanuatu prime minister". Radio New Zealand International. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  8. "Vanuatu Court rules Kilman election void, reinstates Natapei as interim PM". Radio New Zealand International. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  9. "Supreme Declared Natapei, Acting Prime Minister ", government of Vanuatu, 16 June 2011
  10. "Natapei interim PM in Vanuatu government change", Radio Australia, 16 June 2011
  11. "Kilman elected Vanuatu PM - ten days after ouster by court". Radio New Zealand International. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2011.