13 May 2011

Appeal court restores Kilman as Vanuatu prime minister

6:53 pm on 13 May 2011

Sato Kilman has been restored as Prime Minister of Vanuatu after the court of appeal ruled that the speaker of parliament, Maxime Carlot Korman had acted unconstitutionally when he approved last month's election of Serge Vohor.

Mr Vohor had been elected by 26 of the parliament's 52 members in a vote approved by the speaker.

However, Mr Kilman argued that a majority of 27 was needed for the election to be valid.

His first political advisor John Shing says the court of appeal has endorsed Mr Kilman's stance.

"The supreme court in April made a ruling that because 26 members of parliament voted out Sato Kilman as prime minister and voted in Serge Vohor as the new prime minister against 25 MPs at that time, the appeal court was to decide what was simple majority and what was absolute majority. According to the constitution, you cannot remove a prime minister with simple majority, he can only be removed by absolute majority."

Mr Shing says Sato Kilman will now resume his position as prime minister.

He has been restored as Prime Minister yes. The court's ruling was that he was always prime minister. It was as if he had never lost his position as prime minister. The court ruled that the Vohor government is null and void and it was as if he were never in power anyway. Now we'll know for sure on Monday, but Sato he has regained his position as prime minister. He will of course, over the weekend assess the current government situation and on Monday he may call for a council administration meeting with all his current ministers.

John Shing says because Sato Kilman only had the support of 25 MPs in the election, there is potential for a vote of no confidence to be lodged against him.