Several MPs defect from embattled Vanuatu government

Vanuatu Government MPs milling outside court Photo: RNZ Pacific/Hilaire Bule

Several MPs have defected from Vanuatu’s embattled government this morning in parliament.

The house sat following a Supreme Court ruling which confirmed a declaration of vacancies in most of the government member’s seats in parliament.

Friday’s ruling upheld a decision by the former Speaker of Parliament to expel 19 MPs including Prime Minister Bob Loughman from parliament.

A stay order on the court ruling has been granted while the government appeals, pending the outcome of which the MPs remain as MPs.

This morning when the 52-seat parliament convened, four government MPs joined the opposition, including the former Speaker, Gracia Shadrack.

It gives the Ralph Regenvanu-led opposition 22 MPs and solidifies prospects for a change of government if the Loughman coalition’s appeal fails.

Additionally, the opposition has filed a motion of no-confidence in Loughman. It’s unclear when the motion might be tabled for debate in parliament.

Meanwhile, today MPs pressed on with legislative business, passing the Cybercrime Act after years of incubation.

Parliament was adjourned until Tuesday next week.

It is expected that the government’s appeal against the Supreme Court ruling will be heard by next week.

 

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