Vanuatu Opposition issues ultimatum for speaker to convene parliament or face court

Opposition has issued an ultimatum for the deputy speaker to summon parliament or face the court.


Opposition has issued an ultimatum for the deputy speaker to summon parliament or face the court.

A press conference organized by the opposition bloc was told 20 opposition members of parliament have signed a request that was hand delivered to the First Deputy Speaker, Samson Samsen, on Santo last week.

The letter reminded the deputy speaker of his duty under the Standing Orders of Parliament which states “When the Speaker is absent or when called upon to do so by the Speaker, a deputy speaker shall perform the duties and exercise the authority of the Speaker of Parliament”.

Opposition member and MP for Port Vila, Ralph Regenvanu says given that the Speaker of Parliament, Marcelino Pipite is absent by reason of his imprisonment, the deputy speaker has the power under the said Standing Order to carry out the request that was made by the opposition.                                             

They’ve also noted that parliament rules require the first ordinary session to take place in mid-March while the second ordinary session be convened in mid-August.

Opposition members also reminded the deputy speaker of the constitutional requirements for Parliament to convene for two ordinary sessions in a year and that the second ordinary session had not proceeded.

They say they would not allow the government to continue to employ delay tactics to reach the constitutional recess period for parliament which begins on 20 December to 20 January.

 “We are very concerned that it is well past August and Parliament has not been called for its second ordinary sitting”.

“We are further concerned that article 21 (1) of the constitution has been and continues to be violated by the Speaker of Parliament in failing to call parliament to sit” Mr Regenvanu said.

The Opposition says they are also very concerned that if Parliament does not sit in its second ordinary session there will be no budget passed by the government to operate in 2016.

The outspoken MP said they have assured the government that the opposition is aware of the current difficulties and would vote in support of the government budget.

The Opposition bloc says they have given the deputy speaker until 4.30pm on Thursday 5 November to consult with the prime minister and allocate the date for the second ordinary session or they will file a constitutional case against the speaker of parliament for not adhering to his constitutional duty.




Harold Obed