Vanuatu Court decision results in change of government | Pacific Beat

Vanuatu Court decision results in change of government

Vanuatu Court decision results in change of government

Posted 13 May 2011, 17:13 AEST

Vanuatu has just had yet another change of government - with the previous prime minister Sato Kilman back in power.

Moments ago, the country's court of appeal found that the appointment of Serge Vohor as Prime Minister by the speaker of parliament in April was unconstitutional

Sato Kilman argued the appointment of Mr Vohor, following a no-confidence vote was unconstitutional - but a Supreme Court decision last month went in favour of the Serge Vohor alliance.

Mr Kilman says in order for Serge Vohor to rightfully become prime minister, he would have had to win at least 27 votes in parliament.

Mr Vohor gained 26, or half the votes from the 52 members parliament.

Presenter: Girish Sawlani; Kate McPherson, Alex Wake

VBTC journalist, Gabriel Vusilai; Vanuatu MP, Ralph Regenvanu

VUSILAI: The court of appeal declared that the decision by the speaker of parliament was wrong to say that 26th, on 24th April, 2011, have ousted Prime Minister Sato Kilman and the appeal court declared that the decision of the speaker of parliament was wrong.

SAWLANI: What does this mean for Serge Vohor, the Prime Minister, is he still the prime minister?

VUSILAI: The court of appeal declared that the election of the prime minister was in breach of the Constitution of Vanuatu and declared it was not in existence.

SAWLANI: So what does it mean for the country's political leadership, whose running the country at the moment?

VUSILAI: After the decision of the appeal court, Prime Minister Sato Kilman retain his office again as prime minister of Vanuatu now.

SAWLANI: So he is the prime minister at the moment. Was there any reaction from Serge Vohor and his alliance?

VUSILAI: Serge Vohor is now in his overseas tour and probably arriving in next month.

SAWLANI: So what does this mean for Sato Kilman and his political alliance?

VUSILAI: Yeah, they are the government now so they will continue to occupy the office as before 24th April.

SAWLANI: So power has changed numerous times in recent years and, of course, the last one was by the vote of no confidence until Sato Kilman was again reinstated as prime minister, after this court decision. Can we expect the now Opposition to call a no confidence vote of their own once again, what do you think is going to happen in parliament?

VUSILAI: Yeah, good question. Currently the number with the Sato Kilman is 25, well 24 currently and the Opposition with Vohor is 27, so there will be lobbying after this court of appeal to form Sato Kilman to regain the number again to run the government.

ALEX WAKE: Gabriel Vusilai, from the Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation to Girish Sawlani.

And a short time ago, our reporter Kate McPherson spoke to Member of Parliament, Ralph Regenvanu who says he has regained his position as Vanuatu's Justice Minister.

REGENVANU: Sato and his ministers remain the cabinet of Vanuatu and have always been. Prime Minister Serge Vohor and his cabinet are illegal, null and void and were never the government of the country. So what's happened now is that we have now taken back our offices.

MCPHERSON: OK, so can I confirm, what is your opposition, you've regained or you still have. You've never lost your position?

REGENEVANU: Yeah, that's right.

MCPHERSON: So what's the mood among the people there?

REGENEVANU: Well, I think if everyone knew that the decision of the speaker and the decision of the chief justice were wrong. Everyone knows that 26 is not a majority part of 52, so we're all yeah,we're all going back to work now.

MCPHERSON: So what's next in the judicial and parliamentary proceedings? Can we expect more appeals?

REGENEVANU: What happens now is it goes back to the parliamentary deadlock. We haven't been written decision yet, so that's what we heard in court, but we'll see the reasons for the judgement, when the judgement comes out.

MCPHERSON: OK, and so are we expecting anything on Monday or over the weekend, what can we expect?

REGENEVANU: Pretty much what I've told you, pretty much it now just back to work.

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