05/08/2021

Government Still Stands

The 19 members of the Vanuatu parliament have retained their seats back for now after the Court of Appeal allowed their appeal to challenge the former speaker Gratien Shedrack’s decision through an election petition under the Vacation of Seat Act.

The crowd came in numbers to the courtroom today witnessed the highest court on land delivering its judgement in favour of the Government today, who were worried there might be a new government soon if the tide was against them.

The announcement was a relieve to the whole nation that the government still stands there would be a major dent to the tax payers money if the country was to go on another by election or snap election due to the big number of MPs who could lose their seats in the parliament.

Former speaker of parliament Gracia Shadrak declared the seats vacant on June 8, 2021 and ordered the 19 MPs to leave the chamber in a dramatic session that sparked massive debates across the country.

The outgoing speaker claimed that the 19 MPs have breached the standing order of parliament by not attending in three consecutive sitting.

The government later sough relieve from Supreme Court and filed the case pursuant to Article 53 (1) of the Constitution alleging that their Constitutional Rights under Article 17 and 21 (1) have been breached., but the Supreme Court rejected their application and uphold the decision of the outgoing speaker.

The 19 then verbally submit for the decision to be halt awaiting the appeal, but the Court of Appeal has denied the appellants right has been infringed but allowed the appeal against decision of the Supreme Court and all its determination has been set aside.

It also found that the primary judge erred in law to consider whether the speaker’s conclusion as to absence without permission was correct when this was not an issue before the Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeal had also ruled that the MPs affected by the speaker’s decision are entitled to challenge the speaker’s conclusions as to absence without permission in the Supreme Court by an election petition.

More on this judgement to come shortly.