2 Nov 2010

Vanuatu Supreme Court throws out opposition complaints

10:20 am on 2 November 2010

The Vanuatu Supreme Court has dismissed an opposition challenge to last month's speaker's ruling throwing out two motions.

One motion was for an extraordinary session to be called and the other for a no confidence vote in the government of Edward Natapei.

The opposition had the requisite number of signatures for the motions but by the time the speaker, George Wells, considered them several government MPs who'd signed retracted their support.

However, the opposition had claimed that government backbenchers could only withdraw their signatures from the motions when the house was in session.

But the Chief Justice, Vincent Lunabek, has ruled that the decision of the speaker, Georges Wells, to declare the motions invalid was lawful.

The opposition action prompted Mr Natapei to summon the coalition partners at the weekend to see if he still commanded a majority in parliament.