8 Dec 2015

Vanuatu election set for 22 January

10:41 am on 8 December 2015

Vanuatu's snap election has been scheduled for January 22.

Queues at a polling booth in Vanuatu

Queues at a polling booth in Vanuatu Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

This comes after the 10th legislature was dissolved by President Baldwin Lonsdale two weeks ago.

President Lonsdale acted after parliament failed to resolve a political impasse caused by the jailing of 14 government MPs for bribery in October.

However the election schedule is subject to change, pending the outcome of a court challenge against the president's decision to dissolve parliament, filed by

24 former opposition MPs.

Trial date for this constitutional case is set for Thursday.

Meanwhile, Loop Vanuatu reports that leading political parties have been making necessary preparations to contest the snap election.

MPs serving prison terms for bribery, plus the former Finance Minister Willie Jimmy who was handed a suspended sentence after pleading guilty, are ineligible to contest the election.

Vanuatu's Supreme Court yesterday invoked the Leadership Code Act to declare that the 15 politicians cannot hold any public office for the next decade.

Ballot box in a Vanuatu election.

Ballot box in a Vanuatu election. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

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