The Weekend Politics Thread is in Vanuatu, I guess…

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Anna: I realize there is an election you want to talk about, but Monty…Monty… I was doing my customary google for learning when I saw (and then lost, so I circled back around to get a picture, I swear I don’t google in the form of asking questions) this absolute perspective changing answer to a question. How do the crocodiles intend to vote. Are they planning on infiltrating? This is like the day I found out Israel was full of cats. Vanuatu is made up of 82 islands so I understand not having an exact number but how did they get it so close? Also, it wasn’t an independent country until 1980 and crocodiles live around 70 years so, were the crocodiles resistance fighters? Why on Earth do we know there are at least three but maybe four!?!?  Anyway, it’s off topic, but you know how much I love crocodiles and it delighted me to no end that it made the wikipedia page. Tell me what I’m missing out on knowing while I come up with reptile puns.

Monty: Okay, okay, Vanuatu. You may not recognize the name “Vanuatu,” but you may recognize the name “New Hebrides,” because that’s what the country was called back when it was a joint British/French colony. It’s a Melanesian country, which means it’s one of the bigger, chunkier island chains between Australia and Polynesia, and like its neighbors, it is both economically dependent on and highly critical of the main regional power, Australia. Basically the MO of Vanuatu’s current government is to get Australia to act less like an empire while also getting Australia’s government to make more serious commitments to fighting climate change.

Vanuatu has a bunch of parties, but the main ones are the left-wing Vanua’aku Pati, the centrist Union of Moderate Parties, and the right-wing Land and Justice Party. However, VP Prime Minister Charlot Salwai is a member of a minor party, and is also under indictment for perjury in a major corruption scandal that has been unfolding for the better part of a decade.

The Vanua’aku Pati has been in power since the 2016 election and is looking to promote a stronger line against Australia while continuing its rebuilding program known as Kambak (comeback). Australia is unhappy with this as it hopes to increase its naval supremacy over the region, including neutral Vanuatu.

Anna: after a while crocodile. Do you hate me? You can be honest.