3 Dec 2004

Transparency International seeks Vanuatu Speaker probe

4:27 pm on 3 December 2004

Transparency International is asking the Ombudsman to investigate the Speaker of Parliament in Vanuatu for his refusal to accept the recent vote of no confidence.

The president of the organisation, Marie-Noelle Ferrieux-Patterson, has released a statement saying the Speaker should be an objective force in Parliament.

She says the Speaker should not be a partisan supporting a party, and thereby endanger democracy.

Meanwhile, the Opposition says it hopes Parliament will be recalled later today to consider a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, Serge Vohor.

An attempt at a vote yesterday didn't proceed after the Speaker ruled that it was not possible because of the new constitutional changes giving a grace period of one year either side of an election.

But the Opposition says it believes the law change is not yet gazetted and it is seeking a Supreme Court ruling today.

The latest developments come amid a massive swing of support to the Opposition, with 16 members of the Government, including six senior ministers, crossing the floor yesterday.