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Tuavera to Weston: ‘Sack the PM!’

Wednesday July 13, 2016 Written by Published in Politics
Opposition leader Tamaiva Tuavera talks with the opposition’s former parliamentary leader, Teina Bishop. The photo was taken during the brief sitting of parliament last month. 16071211 Opposition leader Tamaiva Tuavera talks with the opposition’s former parliamentary leader, Teina Bishop. The photo was taken during the brief sitting of parliament last month. 16071211

Opposition leader Tamaiva Tuavera wants Chief Justice Tom Weston to sack prime minister Henry Puna.

 

In a letter to the Chief Justice leaked to CI News, Tuavera said he had the best available legal advice on the June 20 no-confidence motion in the government and it was Weston’s duty to “terminate the appointment of the prime minister in accordance with Article 14(3)b of the Constitution.”

He said a number of questions on procedural matters relating to the controversial adjournment of parliament and the following opposition-only “sitting” of the house had not been answered by Queen’s Representative Tom Marsters over the current constitutional crisis.

Tuavera set out six issues in his letter dated July 6 that he said showed parliament had not been adjourned correctly. He said his view was backed by members of the legal fraternity both here and overseas.

The first took place on Friday June 17 and involved an opposition attempt to amend a motion to adjourn parliament sine die. Tuavera said the only thing the Speaker of the House was entitled to do was put the vote for an amendment to the motion. He said the Speaker was not allowed to put the main motion unless members voted down the amendment.

He said, therefore, the motion was not passed and there should not have been an adjournment to August 22.

Tuavera said on Sunday June 19 he sought a meeting with Clerk of Parliament John Tangi to deliver a letter that was also copied to the Queen’s Representative.

That letter advised him the parliament had not adjourned sine die and therefore had to be held the next sitting day, not August 22.

His third point was that the clerk should have sought advice from other Commonwealth officials to “determine whether our position was correct or not.” He said by July 6 he still had not heard from the Clerk.

Tuavera said: “It is our view that the sitting on Monday June 20 was legitimate, along with all its resolutions – including the ‘motion of no-confidence in the cabinet.

“With respect, we drew to the attention of His Excellency that a failure to act in the present circumstances would represent a deliberate decision of the Queen’s Representative to leave in office a prime minister and cabinet who the Queen’s Representative knows does not enjoy the confidence of the majority of members of parliament.

“Our view expressed to His Excellency was if he wished to see the no-confidence question resubmitted to the will of the House recalled specifically for that purpose and nothing else, we could accept that proposition.

“However, such acceptance would be without prejudice to the right of those MPs who voted on such a motion of no confidence on Monday June 20 to claim in litigation that there has already been a valid vote of no confidence in the cabinet.”

Then came his call to sack the prime minister.         - RM