24 Jul 2008

Vanuatu elections could be delayed by constitutional challenge

3:26 pm on 24 July 2008

An outgoing Vanuatu MP and the Chairman of the Melanesian Progressive Party, Barak Sope, is launching a challenge to an electoral law that may delay elections.

Mr Sope has stated that he has given notice to the Attorney General that he will be challenging the constitutionality of the Peoples Representation Act No. 33 of 2007.

He says the Act gives rights to people outside the constituencies of Port Vila and Luganville to vote in the two municipal constituencies, and gives unfair advantage to certain politicians.

He says the legislation has also made it possible for chiefs and landowners in areas covered by the legislation to determine where residents of these areas vote.

The veteran politician told the Vanuatu Daily Post that he has submitted the notice to the AG's office challenging the legislation, and has obtained legal counsel from Australia over the matter.

Mr Sope says if the constitutional challenge is successful a restraining order will be filed against the electoral office not to proceed with the general elections until the case is resolved.

The election is due to be held on September the second