7 Dec 2015

Vanuatu President in court again this week

3:56 pm on 7 December 2015

The President of Vanuatu Baldwin Lonsdale is to appear in court again this week in relation to his decision to dissolve the country's Parliament last month.

24 former opposition MPs are challenging the dissolution which follows the jailing of a quarter of the country's MPs for corruption.

Vanuatu President, Baldwin Lonsdale.

Vanuatu President, Baldwin Lonsdale. Photo: AFP

Outside court on Friday the former opposition MPs said if the judgment goes in their favour they will make an attempt to remove Father Lonsdale from the presidency.

They say he has gone to court three times in less than two months and this undermines respect for the presidency.

Last week Justice Dudley Aru was forced to adjourn the dissolution challenge because Father Lonsdale had failed to find a lawyer to represent him.

But a lawyer has now been appointed and a hearing has been set down for Thursday.

The former opposition says if the Electoral College has the power to elect a president, it also has the power to remove him or her.

They say if they win the court challenge, the remaining 38 MPs will return to their seats in parliament.

They say they have the support of the majority of the members of the Electoral College which is composed of MPs and the presidents of six provinces.

It would be the first attempted removal of a Head of State in Vanuatu.