2 Dec 2009

Embattled Vanuatu PM faces fresh no confidence challenge

2:55 pm on 2 December 2009

A no confidence motion has been deposited in the Vanuatu parliament against the prime minister, Edward Natapei.

The office of the speaker has confirmed that the opposition deposited the motion last Thursday, a day before the speaker decided to declare Mr Natapei's seat vacant for having failed to explain his absence from three sittings.

The motion is scheduled to be debated on Thursday of next week.

This comes as the supreme court is still to decide whether the speaker's decision to dismiss the prime minister and call his seat vacant stands.

On return from Trinidad and Tobago, Mr Natapei appealed to the supporters of his Vanu'aku Party to remain calm and let the court and the parliament handle the situation.

However, as of this morning, Mr Natapei's lawyer had not lodged a formal claim with the Supreme Court to challenge the speaker's decision.

Mr Natapei says he has already defeated more than five motions of no-confidence and this time he will welcome the court decision on the legality of the decision of the speaker.

Currently, the opposition would be one member short of the number needed to oust Mr Natapei.