25 Aug 2017

No apology from Kiribati opposition for boycott

7:42 pm on 25 August 2017

The opposition leader in Kiribati, Titabu Tabane, says he will not apologise to the House for boycotting a session of parliament.

New Kiribati President Taneti Maamau, 2016.

The Kiribati President-elect, Taneti Maamau. Photo: RNZI / Roz Terubea

The opposition left the chamber yesterday after an angry exchange with the speaker, who had cut short a debate.

Today, president Taneti Maamau said Kiribati awaited apologies from opposition MPs.

But Mr Tabane told parliament their was no need to apologise as the MPs were not thrown out of the House but walked out voluntarily, as was their right.

In response, president Maamau said MPs were expected by their electorates to respect the speaker.

He said Mr Tabane should have controlled his MPs when they exchanged words with the Speaker, who was on his feet.

The speaker cut short the debate on the nomination of MP Tebao Awerika to a climate change committee, saying opposition MPs were repeating the same arguments in dissaproval.

When the speaker ruled that he would call for a vote, the MPs accused him of bias.

Mr Maamau told Parliament today that he looked up to the leader of the opposition as a role model, who should have shown good leadership by controlling his party.

The president asked Mr Tabane to read Psalm 64:4 in the bible and to show love.