Open main menu

Maxime Carlot Korman (born 26 April 1941) is a Vanuatuan politician, formerly serving as Speaker of the Parliament and formerly as acting President. He served as Prime minister of Vanuatu for nearly five years, first from 16 December 1991 to 21 December 1995 and again from 23 February 1996 to 30 September 1996. He was a member of the Union of Moderate Parties during his terms as prime minister, but now leads the Vanuatu Republican Party. He was the first Speaker of Parliament after independence, from July 1980 to November 1983, and also served in that capacity just before independence.[1][2]

Maxime Carlot Korman
President of Vanuatu
In office
16 August 2009 – 2 September 2009
Prime MinisterEdward Natapei
Preceded byKalkot Mataskelekele
Succeeded byIolu Abil
Prime Minister of Vanuatu
In office
23 February 1996 – 30 September 1996
PresidentJean Marie Leye Lenelgau
Preceded bySerge Vohor
Succeeded bySerge Vohor
In office
16 December 1991 – 21 December 1995
PresidentFrederick Karlomuana Timakata
Alfred Maseng (Acting)
Jean Marie Leye Lenelgau
Preceded byDonald Kalpokas
Succeeded bySerge Vohor
Speaker of the Parliament
In office
July 1980 – November 1983
Preceded byNew Office
Succeeded byFred Timakata
In office
December 1995 – February 1996
Preceded byAlfred Maseng
Succeeded byEdward Natapei
In office
June 2009 – January 2010
Preceded byGeorge Wells
Succeeded byGeorge Wells
In office
December 2010 – September 2011
Preceded byGeorge Wells
Succeeded byDunstan Hilton
Personal details
Political partyRepublican Party (1998–present)
Other political
Union of Moderate Parties (Before 1998)

Political careerEdit

Korman became Prime Minister following the Union of Moderate Parties's victory in the 1991 election, which came after the split in the ruling Vanua'aku Party. He was the first francophone Prime Minister of Vanuatu, following the anglophone Walter Lini's government throughout the 1980s.

Korman's foreign policy marked a distinct break with Lini's. He "reversed [the country's] unequivocal support for the Kanak National Liberation Front in New Caledonia, its systematic enmity towards France, its flirting with radical regimes, and its openly anti-American nuclear-free Pacific stance."[3]

Following the 1995 election Korman was replaced as Prime Minister by Serge Vohor, a dissident leader of his own party. Two months later Korman was able to accumulate enough support to oust Vohor and regain control of the party and the premiership, but after seven months he was again deposed in a 27-22 no confidence vote and replaced by Vohor. Korman was never again able to regain leadership of the Union of Moderate Parties. He had also served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1993 to 1995. Following his terms as Prime Minister, Korman broke away from the Union of Moderate Parties to form the Vanuatu Republican Party, which he still leads. Following the July 2004 election, Korman became Deputy Prime Minister under Vohor, but was replaced a month later when a national coalition took office.

He was Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities for a time, but was removed from this post and replaced by Edward Natapei in July 2005.[4]

Korman and the Republican Party remained in the governing coalition, and Maxime Carlot Korman eventually became Minister of Lands. In July 2007, Maxime Carlot Korman and his son were faced with corruption allegations involving land deals, which Korman strongly denied.[5]

Following the September 2008 general election, Korman was a candidate for the post of Prime Minister in the parliamentary vote held on 22 September, but was defeated by Natapei, receiving 25 votes against 27 for Natapei.[6]

However, he was elected to be the Speaker of Parliament. On 18 August 2009, when the term of the President of Vanuatu expired, Korman became acting President in his capacity as Speaker of Parliament until the election of a successor on 2 September 2009.

George Wells replaced him as Speaker in January 2010, before resigning in December, whereupon Korman was elected anew to the position.[7]

In September 2011, after he had "rigidly applied standing orders to stop the [ Kilman ] government bringing in a supplementary budget", he was removed as Speaker by the government's parliamentary majority. Ironically, as "Senior Member of Parliament" (Father of the House), he was then called upon to preside over the election of a new Speaker, which he reportedly "readily agreed" to. The government's candidate, Dunstan Hilton, was elected unopposed. A few days later, the government introduced a motion to suspend Korman from Parliament altogether for the remainder of its term, which Radio New Zealand International described as the government's way of "punish[ing him] for his controversial rulings". The motion was passed by twenty-six votes out of fifty-two. Korman announced he would appeal to the courts.[1][8]

Personal lifeEdit

Korman was born on Erakor and is of mixed European and Melanesian descent. On his father's side, he is descended from a chief of Erakor who married a Samoan woman. He attended both Francophone and Anglophone schools in his youth. His wife is from Mele.[9] He worked with linguist Jean-Claude Rivierre to produce a wordlist of the South Efate language in the 1960s.[10] He added the traditional name "Korman" to his name Maxime Carlot when he became Prime Minister.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Veteran Speaker removed", Vanuatu Daily Post, 7 September 2011
  2. ^ "Vanuatu parliament elects Korman as new speaker". Radio New Zealand International. 19 June 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  3. ^ a b Miles, William F.S. Miles, Bridging Mental Boundaries in a Postcolonial Microcosm: Identity and Development in Vanuatu, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998, ISBN 0-8248-2048-7, pp.25-7
  4. ^ "Vanuatu PM sacks party leader from Cabinet", ABC Radio Australia, 18 July 2005.
  5. ^ "Vanuatu lands minister rejects corruption allegations". Radio New Zealand International. 5 July 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Vanuatu lawmakers elect Natapei as prime minister". Associated Press. International Herald Tribune. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
  7. ^ "Court requested conspiracy investigation against Kilman" Archived 9 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Vanuatu News, 20 June 2011
  8. ^ "Former Vanuatu speaker Korman suspended until end of term". Radio New Zealand International. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  9. ^ Aaron, Daniel Bangtor; Macdonald-Milne, Brian; Thomas, Pamela (1981). Yumi stanap: leaders and leadership in a new nation. Suva, Fiji: Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific. p. 15. OCLC 8485767.
  10. ^ Thieberger, Nick (2006). A Grammar of South Efate: An Oceanic Language of Vanuatu. University of Hawaii Press. p. 37. ISBN 9780824830618.
Political offices
Preceded by
Donald Kalpokas
Prime Minister of Vanuatu
Succeeded by
Serge Vohor
Preceded by
Serge Vohor
Prime Minister of Vanuatu
Preceded by
Kalkot Mataskelekele
President of Vanuatu

Succeeded by
Iolu Abil