Political chaos continues in Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Bob Loughman had called on the people of Vanuatu to remain calm, amid what is increasingly being labelled a “political circus”.

The PM’s call followed a ruling by the former speaker of Vanuatu’s parliament, Gracia Shadrack, to expel him and 18 other MPs for not attending three consecutive parliament sittings.

Mr Loughman, in an interview with Radio New Zealand (RNZ), said the speaker alone does not have the power to expel anyone from the parliament.

“The speaker in his capacity cannot make such decisions unless by the order of the court.”

“We want to see democracy prevail in our country,” he told RNZ.

However after a court ruling was made against the prime minister, he and other MPs challenged the court’s decision, claiming their constitutional rights had been breached.

In an interview with ABC News, Lawyer Nigel Morrison who represented the former speaker said the court found the claims of Mr Louchman and his MPs to be absurd.

Whilst the PM urges people to remain calm, many Vanuatuans have returned fire on social media.

“If the PM thinks that there is a crisis, I can assure everyone else that there is no form of uprising in regards to that matter in this country,” read a post from a local.

“We just want change to happen in this country and we hope that the PM follows the court’s decision and vacates his seat,” the post continued.

Vanuatu’s Opposition Leader Ralph Regenvanu said all MPs must follow the rules.

“It doesn’t matter if you are the prime minister, the law applies to you equally as any person on the streets,” he told ABC News.

Mr Regenvanu also moved to downplay talk of a crisis.

“I don’t think it’s even thought that it’s a political crisis. It’s simply 19 members of the parliament who didn’t turn up three consecutive times and therefore have lost their seats.”

Independent pacific analyst, Tess Newton Cain, agreed, telling ABC News that Vanuatu has a strong track record of abiding by court decisions and, “there isn’t much of a political crisis.”

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