24 Nov 2017

Vanuatu opposition leader accuses speaker of bias

3:59 pm on 24 November 2017

Vanuatu's opposition leader has accused parliament's speaker of being biased in his decision to reject a no confidence motion in the deputy prime minister.

 Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister, Joe Natuman.

Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister, Joe Natuman. Photo: OFC via Phototek

Yesterday, Ishamel Kalsakau moved the motion in an attempt to remove Joe Natuman from attending any session ahead of a court case next month.

Mr Natuman faces trial for conspiracy relating to a 2015 decision to call on police investigators to cease a mutiny probe into a former police commissioner.

Mr Kalsakau said he spoke to the speaker, Esmon Simon, about the motion on Wednesday, but it was rejected in parliament yesterday.

"I sought permission from the speaker to raise a matter that required the consideration of parliament through an urgent debate. He had initially agreed for me to proceed, but circumstances might have intervened that made him change his mind the next day."

Ishmael Kalsakau said he planed to try and move the motion again today.

In his ruling, Mr Simon said a motion could only be accepted during oral questions, not when government bills are being debated.