29 Mar 2008

Nauru Speaker fails to stop two ministers from entering Parliament

5:46 am on 29 March 2008

The Speaker of Nauru's parliament, Opposition MP David Adeang, failed to prevent two senior ministers from entering the chamber at the start of yesterday's resumed sitting.

Mr Adeang was attempting to invoke the country's Citizenship Act which a controversial meeting of Parliament a week ago, attended only by Opposition MPs, had amended.

If the move had been valid, it would have rendered the two ministers holding dual citizenship ineligible to sit in the chamber or to remain as MPs.

But the two ministers, Dr Kieren Keke and Frederick Pitcher, refused to leave the chamber referring the Speaker to their constitutional rights, and Mr Adeang eventually suspended the sitting until today.

The government has referred last Saturday's suspect gathering to the Supreme Court for a ruling and under Nauru's constitution, is the only body able to determine the eligibility of members of parliament.

Dr Keke, who is Foreign Affairs and Finance Minister, says there is no doubt that the meeting of opposition members last week was unconstitutional.

Mr Adeang claims a quorum existed and therefore the amendments are valid