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Salwai Gov’t Unlawful: Opposition

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Prime Minister Charlot Salwai.. By Hilaire Bule

The Opposition bloc of former Prime Minister (PM) Sato Kilman has raised concerns over the election of Charlot Salwai, Member of Parliament (MP) of Pentecost and President of the Reunification Movement of Change (RMC), as the new PM during the parliamentary session last Friday.

Former PM Kilman alleged that Salwai’s election was unlawful because it relied on the signatures of only 26 MPs instead of the required 27, which constitutes the absolute majority among the 52 MPs.

During a press conference held at the parliament yesterday, Kilman commented on the need to await the court’s judgment to determine the legality of the Extraordinary session last Friday rather than rushing decisions. He stated that they are currently in a holding pattern, awaiting the court’s decision before appointing the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader.

Furthermore, members of the former government, now part of the opposition in parliament, decided not to nominate representatives to various parliamentary committees. The opposition also questioned the government’s legitimacy, suggesting that if Salwai relies on the 26 signatures, his government should have fewer than 13 ministries.

In a previous press conference, the former opposition led by current PM Salwai had criticised Kilman’s appointment of 13 ministers, arguing that it was disproportionate to the absolute majority of 26 votes among the 51 MPs present. They alleged that one of the ministers had been illegally appointed.

Today at 10 o’clock, a conference will take place at the Dumber Court House to address the former government’s case. Their legal counsel, Justin Ngwele, stated that they will seek court intervention to determine the legality of the last Friday’s parliament sitting.

If the court accepts Ngwele’s application, it could potentially invalidate Kilman’s coalition government, rendering Salwai’s government unconstitutional. This would also impact the termination and suspension of MP Gracia Shadrack as First Deputy Speaker and his replacement by former PM Ishmael Kalsakau.

Rex Issachar, the Public Relations Officer of the office of the PM, said the parliamentary session held last Friday followed a court order issued on Thursday. He maintained that only the court can determine the constitutionality of Salwai’s election.

Source: VDP

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