28 Nov 2009

Basic error costs Vanuatu PM his job

4:13 pm on 28 November 2009

The prime minister of Vanuatu, Edward Natapei, has lost his seat in parliament because of a mistake in paperwork.

Mr Natapei flew to Trinidad and Tobago for the Commonwealth summit, but his office failed to notify the speaker of parliament that he would be away.

By missing three consecutive parliamentary sittings without submitting a written explanation for his absence, under Vanuatu law he forfeits his seat.

An official in Mr Natapei's office says he is being recalled from the summit. The country will be ruled by a caretaker government until MPs elect a new prime minister.

The vote is expected next week, and there will also be a by-election for Mr Natapei's seat.