20 Aug 2003

Tuvalu's Chief Justice could convene Parliament if PM continues to refuse

5:03 pm on 20 August 2003

The Tuvalu Opposition's lawyer says they are confident that a landmark legal ruling will result in the long-awaited reconvening of Parliament.

The Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Saufatu Sopoanga, has sought to avoid reconvening Parliament until he has the numbers to ensure majority support.

Lawyer James Duckworth says the Chief Justice has ruled that the Governor-General, Sir Tomasi Puapua, may order Parliament together himself.

Mr Duckworth says Mr Sopoanga returns from Auckland on Monday, and there could be pressure to resolve it before Sir Tomasi retires in early September.

"There are two choices really....... either the Head of State will go and take his decision anyway, based on various factors or alternatively, the Prime Minister is away at the moment, and is due back from the Pacific Island Forum leaders meeting early next week, and I suspect what he will do is wait for his return and obviously he will consult with the Prime Minister."

James Duckworth.