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RNZ Pacific

Vanuatu Supreme Court judge Justice Oliver Saksak has granted a stay on the vacation of 19 seats in the country’s Parliament.

On Tuesday, the Speaker of Parliament, Gracia Shadrack, declared the seats of Prime Minister Bob Loughman and 18 of his MPs vacant because they had been absent from Parliament on three consecutive occasions in breach of standing rules.

The MPs were absent on the third occasion to avoid a vote of no confidence motion, but they had also been striving through the past week to remove Shadrack, after he appeared to side with the opposition.

Shadrack encouraged the MPs to seek a court ruling on his actions and now Justice Saksak has issued a stay on the actions of the Speaker, with a court hearing to be heard from 10am tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Speaker has adjourned Parliament until Friday when debate on his actions, and the motions that are in play, can begin.

RNZ Pacific’s correspondent in Vanuatu said the shutout of the government MPs was all people were talking about in the kava bars.

He said everyone in Vanuatu knew that under normal practice, it was the opposition that would boycott parliamentary sessions.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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