16 Jun 2010

Concern over Nauru state of emergency

3:12 pm on 16 June 2010

Concerns have been raised in Nauru at the caretaker government instituting a state of emergency just before it dissolved the Parliament and announced new elections for this Saturday.

The new poll is an attempt to overcome a political impasse that has blocked parliamentary activity for months.

Don Wiseman has more:

"The State of Emergency, or SOE, was put in place because the government felt there was a grave threat to the economy as the impasse stopped parliament from conducting any business, including financial bills. It had advice some departments would struggle to meet their commitments. But the opposition grouping in a newsletter, Eben Bwio, says this doesn't justify the use of an SOE. It says SOEs are a threat to human rights, freedom of expression and others such as rights to assembly and association. Eben Bwio says the opposition had wanted parliament dissolved through normal peaceful parliamentary processes. It says the caretaker government thwarted its attempts at a coalition - an accusation that the government also makes about the opposition. And the newsletter also raises queries about the one week lead in to an election. It says this is inadequate, especially for new candidates contesting the poll. The SOE is set to stay in place up to 21 days from last Friday or until a President is named."