7 Jan 2016

Natuman says his group can contest Vanuatu elections

7:37 am on 7 January 2016

Vanuatu's former prime minister and the leader of the opposition bloc says a failed constitutional appeal does not mean they won't stand for election.

In December, Joe Natuman and 23 other then-opposition MPs sought to overturn President Baldwin Lonsdale's decision to dissolve parliament, which was rejected by the Supreme Court.

Father Lonsdale called a snap election to end weeks of political deadlock following the jailing of 14 government MPs for corruption.

Our correspondent in Port Vila says there have been allegations that the former MPs are unable to contest the January 22nd election because they are yet to pay legal fees to the president.

But Joe Natuman says they are yet to receive an invoice, which means they can contest the elections.

"We took the President to court and the court ruled that we should pay the costs of that case that went to court. We are now waiting for the lawyer for the President to submit the costs to our lawyer, so we are waiting for that bill to come."

Joe Natuman outside court.

Former Vanuatu prime minister, Joe Natuman. Photo: RNZI / Hilaire Bule