20 Mar 2006

Vanuatu attorney general says government motion to ban rivals is unconstitutional

3:39 pm on 20 March 2006

Vanuatu's State Law Office says the government's attempt to ban the opposition from parliament is unconstitutional.

The opposition has tabled a motion of no-confidence in Prime Minister Ham Lini's government which will be debated in parliament tomorrow.

However, in response the government launched a counter-motion to ban the opposition from two ordinary sessions of parliament, which is effectively a whole year.

The government says the move meets the provisions of parliamentary standing orders.

But the attorney general, Sampson Endehipa, says he has advised the speaker of parliament that to let this counter motion through would be unconstitutional.

"The speaker will have to, through the parliament sitting this afternoon, tell the parliament that the counter motion is unconstitutional and will not be debated in parliament. In other words, if it was debated, the process will go - if the process was to go and a decision was to be made, it would be made contrary to the constitution."

Attorney general, Sampson Endehipa