24 Apr 2003

Kiribati election to go ahead after Appeal court ruling

3:47 pm on 24 April 2003

Elections are to go ahead in Kiribati next month after a ruling by the country's Court of Appeal.

The court, composed of three retired New Zealand High Court judges, had been asked to rule on whether there was a legal majority in the vote to oust President Teburoro Tito in March.

The government lost a vote on the budget by 19 votes to 21

The court had been asked to decide whether a majority consists of the number of seats in parliament or whether it should be made up of the number of eligible members, after one MP in the 42 seat Parliament had been disqualified for alleged corruption and another was absent through illness.

Delivering the verdict on behalf of the court, Sir Micheal Hardie-Boys said the word member referred to individuals and a seat without a member could not vote.

He said with one member absent and one seat vacant the speaker was correct to rule that the government had lost the vote and the House should be dissolved.