Verdict on Vanuatu Dissolution to be declared September 9

Prime Minister Bob Loughman
Prime Minister Bob Loughman

The constitutional case to decide whether or not there will be an early election in Vanuatu will not be decided until the end of this week.

At Friday’s hearing before Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek, the counsel for the Opposition cited a litany of articles supporting the proposed motion of no confidence that was thwarted by the dissolution of Parliament.

The Solicitor General representing the State told the court that the urgent constitutional application should be dismissed because the complainants had not proved that the Council of Ministers’ (CoM) advice was unlawful.

He told the court that the Opposition solicitor Edward Nalyal fell short of giving evidence to challenge the power of the CoM.

Solicitor General Frederick Gilu submitted to the court that there was no breach of the articles cited by Nalyal in his submission.

Nalyal cited Articles 21(2), 43 and 66 in support of his submission.

“You need to show the court that the advice of the CoM to the President is unlawful,” Justice Lunabek told Nalyal.

The CJ repeatedly asked the claimants’ counsel to show facts where the Articles have been breached in relation to each applicant.

Nalyal told the court that the 27 MPs deposited a motion of no confidence and several other motions to call for an Extra-ordinary session to debate it on 8th August. He said that motion was already declared in order by the Speaker on 9th August. Nalyal told the court that four days later, Loughman wrote a letter to the Speaker asking him to immediately withdraw the motion.

He told the court that the Speaker didn’t respond to Loughman’s letter and that resulted in the calling of the CoM to advice the President to dissolve parliament.

Parliament sat on 16 August to debate the motion of no confidence but was adjourned to the 19th because of the boycott of the 22 government MPs which resulted in the lack of a quorum of two thirds of 52 members of parliament.

The Court heard that parliament was not able to sit on 19 August because the President dissolved it less than 18 hours before the debate of the motion.

The Vanuatu Supreme Court will deliver its verdict on the urgent constitutional application of 27 signatories of the motion of no confidence against Bob Loughman as Prime Minister on Friday, September 9, 2022.

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