27 Oct 2015

Vanuatu's handling of bribery saga a positive signal

7:27 am on 27 October 2015

An expert on Melanesia politics says the recent pardoning and bribery saga involving a quarter of Vanuatu's MPs has sent a strong signal that the rule of law prevails in the country.

14 MPs were jailed last week for giving and accepting bribes as an inducement to change the government last year.

Jenny Hayward Jones of the Australian think tank, the Lowy Institute, says the weaknesses in Vanuatu's political system have been exposed on a grand scale as have the flaws of many of Vanuatu's elected politicians.

But she says there are positive signs for the country in the long-term.

"What this saga shows is that the rule of law has prevailed , Vanuatu's courts are strong, that its judiciary is independent , that its president is strong enough to say no and is above the law, so all of these things, I think send a very positive signal, probably one of the most positive in the region that Vanuatu's a place where you can do business and where the rule of law will be respected."