Vanuatu Opposition welcomes resignation of deputy PM Joe Natuman

Vanuatu's parliament is set to sit today with one glaring omission: the country's deputy Prime Minister, Joe Natuman will not be there, because he was replaced earlier this week.

The veteran politician and MP for the Tanna constituency, was forced to resign from the position after the parliamentary speaker acted on legal advice the government received, that said Mr Natuman was barred from entering parliament.

In March, he was convicted and given a 2-year suspended sentence, after pleading guilty to a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Natuman has been replaced as deputy Prime Minister by another MP from the Tanna constituency, Bob Loughman, in a move welcomed by the Opposition leader Alotoi Ishmael Kalsakau.

Mr Kalsakau said he commended the Speaker for bringing finality to the issue.

He said he is pleased the Speaker was able to rise above the issue of politics to do what is right by the people.

Speaker of Parliament, Esme Saemon is from the same political party as Mr Natuman and Mr Loughman.

According to Mr Kalsakau, a by-election is expected to be held for the now vacant seat in Parliament.