28 May 2004

Vanuatu elections to go ahead after Court of Appeal rejects challenge to dissolution

5:29 pm on 28 May 2004

General elections will go ahead in Vanuatu on July 6th after the Court of Appeal rejected an Opposition challenge to this month's dissolution of Parliament.

The Opposition had appealed a Supreme Court ruling that the acting President, Roger Abiut, was right to accept the Council of Ministers' decision to dissolve Parliament and call fresh elections.

The dissolution came after the Opposition had presented a motion for a vote of no confidence in the Government.

The motion had been presented to Mr Abiut in his role as Speaker of Parliament.

The Opposition says there was a clear conflict of interest for Mr Abiut in the two roles, and they wanted the dissolution overturned and election plans shelved.

But the judges rejected that saying the Opposition would have had to show that Mr Abiut's decision was irrational or unsustainable and had failed to do so.

They ruled Mr Abiut had acted appropriately.