20 Nov 2002

Still not clear whether there will be a by-election in Vanuatu for Bark Sokpe's seat

5:59 pm on 20 November 2002

The State Law Office in Vanuatu says it is unclear whether Mr Sope has lost his Parliamentary seat, and whether there will be a by-election.

Under the leadership code an MP convicted of a criminal offence automatically loses his seat, but State law Office officials says they are not sure if the pardon reverses this.

Meanwhile Mr Sope remains keen to return to Parliament and says there is no need for a by-election because he kept up to date while in jail.

"....when I was still in prison, I got my papers sent in, .. the calling of the last parliament, all the laws I have them, so I could go to Parliament."

Barak Sope.

The opposition says if there is a by-election, it will not stand a candidate.

Opposition leader, Willie Jimmy, says it's a show of solidarity.

We have decided that if there was going to be a by-election, in Mr Sope's case,.. all other political parties, in the opposition, will not contest the election but it will give an honour as our indication of solidarity in our political blocks in parliament, to allow Melanesian Progressive Party to put somebody in, and we will all vote to take the seat back.