Iolu Abil

Iolu Abil
President of Vanuatu
In office
2 September 2009  2 September 2014
Prime Minister Edward Natapei
Sato Kilman
Serge Vohor
Sato Kilman
Edward Natapei (Acting)
Sato Kilman
Moana Carcasses Kalosil
Joe Natuman
Preceded by Maxime Carlot Korman (Acting)
Succeeded by Philip Boedoro (Acting)
Personal details
Born 1942 (age 7374)
Lauaneai, New Hebrides
(now Vanuatu)
Political party Vanua'aku Pati
Alma mater University of the South Pacific
Religion Presbyterianism

Iolu Johnson Abil (born 1942) is a Vanuatuan politician. He was elected and sworn in as the President of Vanuatu on 2 September 2009.[1][2]


Personal life

Abil is from Tanna island, which is located in Vanuatu's southernmost Tafea Province.[1] He was born in the village of Lauaneai on Tanna in the New Hebrides in 1942 to parents George Yavinian and Nassaiu.[3] His father originally owned his own store, but closed the business after Iolu later suggested the family join a business cooperative.[3]

Abil holds the chiefly title of Yaniniko, which means chief's spokesman on the island of Tanna.[3] His hereditary title was granted to him by his grandfather, Joe Yautim, who was a Yaramara, or chief, on Tanna.[3] Abil's father, George Yavinian, was also a chief, but had not been granted the right to be a chiefly spokesperson as of the early 1980s.[3]

Abil attended the local Lenakel village elementary school on his home island of Tanna.[3] He next enrolled at Lenakel Senior Primary School, which he attended from 1956 until 1958.[3] He graduated from Onesua High School.[3]

He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Vanuatu.[4]


Abil joined the British National Service as a cooperative inspector in 1964.[3] He also took a job with the New Hebrides Cooperative Department in 1964, a position he held for the next sixteen years.[3] He enrolled in cooperative development training courses in Papua New Guinea and Fiji during the 1960s.[3] He then became a student at the Loughborough International Co-operative College in the United Kingdom for two years.[3]

Abil completed three months of administration and management courses at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, in 1973.[3]

He served in the Cabinet member in the first post-independence government of Prime Minister Walter Lini,[1] thereby becoming Vanuatu's first Secretary of the Ministry of Lands.[3]

Iolu Abil was appointed as the interim Ombudsman of Vanuatu in November 2004,[5] following the departure of Hannington Alatoa, whose term in office had expired in June 2004.[5] Abil served as interim Ombudsman until April 2005 when Peter Taurakoto was appointed to a five-year term by President Kalkot Mataskelekele.[5]

Abil has also held a number of positions within the private sector, including as chairman of Air Vanuatu.[4]

President of Vanuatu

Abil was elected President by Vanuatu’s 58-member electoral college on 2 September 2009.[1] Abil was elected on the electoral college's third round of voting in two days.[1] No candidate had garnered the required two-thirds of the vote in electoral college in previous two rounds of voting.[1]

Several members of parliament within Prime Minister Edward Natapei's governing coalition had supported former President Kalkot Mataskelekele in the first two rounds of the election.[1] Mataskelekele's five-year term as President had ended on 16 August 2009, and he had been renominated for a second term.[1] However, all members of Natapei coalition had unanimously agreed to support Abil in the third round on 2 September 2009.[1]

Abil defeated six other candidates who had been nominated for president in the electoral college's third round. With the support of Prime Minister Natapei, he secured 41 votes within the 58-member electoral college, which won the presidency of Vanuatu.[1] He was sworn in as President of Vanuatu on the evening of 2 September 2009.[2]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Iolu Abil elected as Vanuatu's President". Radio New Zealand International. 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2009-09-02.
  2. 1 2 "Iolu Abil elected as Vanuatu's new president". People's Daily. 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2009-09-02.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 "Some People of Vanuatu: Iolu Abbil". Yumi Stanap, "Some People of Vanuatu," pages 62–64. Google Books, Institute of Pacific Studies. The University of South Pacific and Lotu Pasifika Productions. 1981. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
  4. 1 2 "Vanuatu's newly elected President continues long public role". Radio New Zealand International. 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
  5. 1 2 3 "" (PDF). University of Alberta. June 2005. Retrieved 2009-09-03. External link in |title= (help)
Political offices
Preceded by
Maxime Carlot Korman
President of Vanuatu
Succeeded by
Philip Boedoro
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