16 Jun 2011

Vanuatu Court rules Kilman election void, reinstates Natapei as interim PM

12:59 pm on 16 June 2011

Vanuatu's chief justice has ruled the election of Prime Minister Sato Kilman five months ago was null and void.

In his ruling Vincent Lunabek has appointed Edward Natapei interim prime minister and his former ministers have been made interim ministers until a new prime minister is appointed.

The constitutional dilemma began in November when Sato Kilman, as opposition leader succeeded in a vote of no confidence over Mr Natapei, who was then Prime Minister.

The speaker of parliament Maxim Carlot Korman then appointed Mr Kilman prime minister without following article 41 of the constitution which required he be elected by secret ballot.

Edward Natapei says it was clear which way the ruling was going to go

"The decision of the Supreme Court in relation to the constitution is quite clear. The judge took into consideration the arguments from both sides and he made it quite clear today that there's no other way than to follow the constitution."

Edward Natapei says he is going to ask the Speaker of Parliament today to convene parliament in seven days to elect a new prime minister in accordance with the Judge's ruling.

He says his members have the numbers to elect a Prime Minister.