20 Dec 2012

Vanuatu MP pleased with election petition judge swap

12:36 pm on 20 December 2012

A Vanuatu opposition MP Willie Jimmy says he is grateful that the Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek agreed to disqualify himself from hearing his electoral petition against the candidacy of the Prime Minister.

The petition questions why Sato Kilman was allowed to contest the election in October despite allegedly not clearing a 140,000 US dollar debt to government.

Other candidates were asked by the Electoral Commission to settle their debts before they could stand.

Mr Jimmy's legal team successfully argued that the Chief Justice's record of giving preference to the rules governing election petitions was unsuitable for the eligibility case.

"The registrar of the court has appointed a different judge to take up my case. The first conference since he took up my case was yesterday and I'm glad that he now directed my lawyer to file the sworn statement that supports my petition. So from there he can decide whether there is a case or not."

A Vanuatu opposition MP Willie Jimmy