Vanuatu government eyes referendum on political party law

Vanuatu's Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu. Picture: RNZ

PORT VILA, 01 OCTOBER  2018 (VANUATU DAILY POST) – The Chairman of the Task Force on the Constitutional Review, Vanuatu Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ralph Regenvanu, told the Daily Post during the recent seminar on Legal and Regulatory Framework for Political Parties that there will be a referendum on the subject in mid-2019.

He explained that the propose Bill for the party law, will first go to parliament at the end of this year (2018) for the MPs to study, but not necessarily to be debated or passed by parliament.

This is because any proposed changes in the national constitution requires a referendum.

This was also confirmed by the Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, in an interview with the Daily Post.

“We have withdrawn our broader constitutional reform bill in order to allow us to focus on the key issue of political parties and look to create consensus on the key content that should include in a bill to register political parties.

“I have appointed a Task force to do a detail analysis, and to provide a working paper to the Parliament in November of this year.

“This will form the basis for preparing us for a draft Political Parties Bill, which will be tabled in Parliament, hopefully next year,” PM Salwai said.

The Prime minister further reiterated that once the proposed political parties law, is completed, it will be presented in parliament to gauge whether it will have the support of the MPs or not.

The Prime minister is hopeful that the feedback from the MPs will be positive.

PM Salwai said once the Bill is endorsed by the MPs, it will then be subject to a national referendum in mid-2019, as indicated by the Chairman of the Task Force Committee on Constitutional Reform.

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