11 Oct 2010

Row in Marshall Islands over who controls legislature

12:09 pm on 11 October 2010

A rift has broken out between the Marshall Islands parliament and the executive branch over who controls the nation's legislature.

The spat came after the Speaker, Alvin Jacklick, introduced a new organisational chart with a few new staff positions.

While Mr Jacklick was presenting his chart, he was given an existing parliamentary organisational chart listing the President as the head of the parliament.

Our correspondent in the Marshall Islands Giff Johnson says the previous chart did not mention a speaker or a vice speaker.

A Public Service Commission official says the practice of recognizing the President as head of parliament dates back many years.

But Giff Johnson says Mr Jacklick is arguing the Speaker should be in control.

"If for 30 years everybody has just gone on the assumption that the president runs the whole show then it is good for people to have a wake up to actually look at what the constitution says, and of course the constitution says the speaker is the head of Parliament, and get enforced."

Giff Johnson says the other problem the Speaker faces is control of his own budget.