Opposition threatens boycott over proposed Constitutional changes

Aspects of the Opposition Bloc’s objections to proposed changes to the Vanuatu Constitution which will be debated on Friday in an extraordinary sitting of Parliament. The Opposition is mainly objecting on a procedural basis to the manner in which the changes are being proposed. They suggest “fireworks” if correct procedures are not invoked by the Speaker. Article 85 of the Constitution as it presently exists says “a Bill for an amendment of the Constitution shall not come into effect unless it is supported by the votes of no less than two thirds of all the Members of Parliament at a special sitting of Parliament at which three quarters of the members are present. If there is no such quorum at the first sitting, Parliament may meet and make a decision by the same majority a week later, even if only two thirds of the members are present.” The Leader of the Opposition Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau says the Government should have consulted with the people before bringing the amendments which concern their livelihoods to Parliament. Kalsakau believes the Government does not have the numbers to achieve the changes sought and says his bloc is prepared to boycott the sitting on Friday. (Daily Post)

Deputy Prime Minister Natuman and the former Acting Police Commissioner Aru Maralau are both pleading not guilty to the charges brought against them in the Supreme Court. Natuman has pleaded not guilty to two counts of obstruction and interfering with the execution of a criminal process underway. For Maralau there is just one charge of complicity, to which he has likewise entered a plea of not guilty. The matter arises from the continuous factional activity in the Vanuatu Police Force over a number of years and which was firstly treated as a mutiny. It was subsequently abandoned by Prosecutions which saw a nolle prosequi recorded. Natuman’s actions relative to the VPF when he was Prime Minister, and at a time when the PM was responsible for the forces, were questioned by the former Leader of the Opposition, Moana Carcasses (now serving a term of imprisonment for bribery). The continual personality clashes within the factions of the forces led to the Natuman actions for which he is now called to account. The pre-trial hearing yesterday has enabled the case to proceed on Friday without Natuman’s presence as Parliament will be sitting. (Daily Post)


One Comment on “Opposition threatens boycott over proposed Constitutional changes”

  1. Articles of Constitution was written since 1980. Now we are in 2016 so standard of living improved a lot. I think that it is time to revised into the Constitution and make some amendment to some laws. I’m fully agree with the government of Hon. Salwai for those changes and disagree with Kalsakau for the Boycott.

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