28 Nov 2019

Vanuatu Opposition boycott Parliament sitting in protest

11:36 am on 28 November 2019

The Opposition in Vanuatu has boycotted an extraordinary sitting of Parliament in protest at the Speaker's refusal to step aside.

Vanuatu parliament

Vanuatu parliament Photo: RNZ/Sally Round

The Daily Post reports Opposition leader, Ishmael Kalsakau, called on the Speaker to allow one of his deputies to act on his behalf, pending the outcome of the Speaker's court case.

Seoule Simeon has denied charges including assault and kidnapping. In October, he was ordered to pay $US5000 in damages to a woman in a civil case over an incident in 2016.

The Speaker refused the opposition's request, citing sections of the constitution that say he can maintain his position until proven guilty.

Mr Kalsakau said the protest was about protecting the integrity of the Parliament.

The Opposition said it would remain outside Parliament until the Speaker steps aside.

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