Opposition to test suspension legality

Vanuatu Opposition MPs will test the legality of their suspension from Parliament this week.

The Opposition Leader, Ralph Regenvanu, says they are preparing their case and will register it in the Supreme Court this week.

Mr Regenvanu, a Port Vila MP, says it is the first time in Vanuatu’s parliamentary history that the entire Opposition has been suspended from the Parliament.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau, moved the suspension of all Opposition MPS on Monday in response to the Opposition MPs boycotting the Parliament last week.

The Opposition MPs had claimed the Minister of Climate Change had breached COVID-19 regulations, an allegation the Government and Health Ministry denied.

The 22 MPs have been suspended from attending two consecutive parliament sitting in a motion passed by the Government yesterday.

The Opposition Leader said it was important to test the legality of their suspension.

“We want to make sure it is legal,” he said.

He says they are expecting to lodge the case on Friday and the court will deal with it in its own time.

Mr Regenvanu says it is not an urgent application but they want to ensure the suspension is in accordance to the law.

“We want to see the legal proof in the Supreme Court,” Mr Regenvanu said.

In Parliament on Tuesday, the Deputy Prime Minister, Alatoi Ishmae Kalsakau, told Opposition MPs to take the matter to court if they believed the suspension had infringed their rights.

The entire Opposition was suspended Tuesday from attending two consecutive parliamentary but are due to return to the Parliament this Friday.

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