19 Oct 2015

Vanuatu anti-corruption march postponed

1:41 pm on 19 October 2015

An anti-corruption march planned for today in the Vanuatu capital Port Vila has been postponed following the arrest of 11 MPs on Friday.

Vanuatu Women Against Crime and Corruption had police permission for the march but a spokesperson Jenny Ligo says the police have their hands full ensuring peace and order in the country.

The police were due to help with the demonstration.

The Prime Minister Sato Kilman has continued to appeal for calm following the MPs' arrests on conspiracy charges following their controversial pardoning nearly a week earlier.

Ms Ligo says people are generally confident in the processes being followed but they still plan to voice their concerns at a protest next week.

She says while leaders have the money to spend bribing each other women go without things like community centres.

No confidence push continues

Vanuatu's opposition MPs say they should have the numbers this week for a successful vote on a motion of no confidence in the embattled government.

As 14 MPs await their sentencing on Thursday, the opposition failed in a bid late last week to lodge a motion against Mr Kilman's government.

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Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel

The Speaker, Marcellino Pipite, who is one of the guilty MPs, declared the motion not in order after another guilty MP, Tony Wright, withdrew his signature.

With the arrival of the MP from Ambrym, Bruno Leignkone, and the vote of the new MP Kenneth Natapei, the opposition say they will have the numbers to remove the government.

The deputy speaker, Samson Samsen, says Parliament will still convene this week despite the crisis.

Mr Samsen was one of the MPs charged with bribery but became a witness for the prosecution during the trial.

Mr Kilman issued a press statement yesterday asking the public to keep calm ahead of this week's developments.

With four of his ministers sacked, Mr Kilman is now the acting minister of lands, public utilities, education and climate change.

There are still two convicted ministers who are still state ministers - Moana Carcasses who is deputy prime minister and Serge Vohor as minister of health.

The duo will receive their sentence on Thursday.

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Photo: RNZ

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