30 Nov 2009

Court appeal by Vanuatu PM over speaker's ruling expected to go against him

3:27 pm on 30 November 2009

A Vanuatu coalition government MP says there is little hope that the Prime Minister's appeal against a ruling by parliament's speaker to strip him of his seat as an MP will be successful.

Edward Natapei missed three consecutive sittings without submitting a written explanation and was consequently stripped of his seat by the speaker, Maxime Carlot Korman.

Mr Natapei has challenged the speaker's decision in the Supreme Court which is due to make a ruling before parliament resumes next week.

In the meantime, Mr Natapei remains the Prime Minister.

However an MP with the Alliance grouping, Ralph Regenvanu, says there is a precedent for this case.

"In 1988, the entire Union of Moderate Parties MPs, all 18 of their MPs, lost their seats as a result of exactly the same law, missing three consecutive sittings. And one of the people to lose their seats in 1988 was the current speaker, Korman, so he actually knows this law very well. The UMP in 1988 took their case to court and the Court of Appeal backed up the speaker's decision."

Ralph Regenvanu