25 May 2004

Vanuatu Appeal Court to hear Opposition claim that Parliamentary dissolution illegal

9:08 pm on 25 May 2004

The Vanuatu Opposition has been given leave to take its case over this month's dissolution of Parliament to the Court of Appeal.

The Court is to meet in a special sitting tomorrow (wed) afternoon.

The Government dissolved Parliament and called for new elections after the Opposition presented a motion for a vote of no confidence.

The dissolution was accepted by the acting President, Roger

Abuit, who was also Parliament's Speaker.

But the Opposition's lawyer, Ishmael Kalpakau, says they believe there was a clear conflict of interest.

He says, Mr Abuit, once he had received, in his role as Speaker, a motion of no confidence, that then precluded him, as President, from accepting the decision of the Government to dissolve Parliament.

"given also the fact that he became Speaker through hs membership of the Government side, so there is a clear conflict in his ability to exercise a clear conscience, as President, to contemplate upon advices given by the Council of Ministers to dissolve Parliament"