31 Mar 2008

Nauru Speaker likens police action to parliamentary coup

2:04 pm on 31 March 2008

The Nauru Parliamentary Speaker, Opposition MP David Adeang, claims what amounts to a parliamentary coup has been carried out after the Police Commissioner rejected his orders to remove two Ministers from the House.

Mr Adeang says Commissioner Robert Lehmann was being directed by the President Marcus Stephen, who is also Police Minister.

Mr Adeang says they are trying to assume authority over the Speaker.

Last week, he pushed through changes to the Citizenship Act, barring MPs from holding dual citizenship.

This would rule out two cabinet members, Dr Kieren Keke and Freddie Pitcher, but the Government maintains the amendment has no validity, because there was no quorum.

It is waiting for a Supreme Court interpretation of the Speaker's actions.

However, Mr Adeang maintains he has prerogative as Speaker to determine whether a quorum exists and says the police should have evicted the two MPs as he directed.

"The Police Commissioner, he issued instructions to the police not to assist the Speaker in carrying out the Standing Orders of Parliament, which, of course, oblige me as Speaker to have the two Ministers ejected from the Chamber."

David Adeang