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Vanuatu’s Regenvanu says govt constitutional amendments bad for country

Thursday 9 June 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Regional, Vanuatu

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Vanuatu’s Regenvanu says govt constitutional amendments bad for country
Opposition leader Ralph Regenvanu Photo: Hilaire Bule

Vanuatu's opposition will boycott today's planned special parliamentary session, in order to stop the government from passing several constitutional amendments.

The government is hoping to debate and pass 16 amendments…including expanding the definition of citizenship, extending the life of parliament from four to five years, allowing dual citizens to hold public office, and establishing four new ministries, among others.

Opposition leader Ralph Regenvanu said prime minister Bob Loughman's proposals are "irresponsible" and is being done in "bad faith."

Mr Regenvanu said his side is objecting to five out of the 16 proposed changes, with major concerns over the plan to increase the number of government ministries from 13 to 17.

He said the amendment "is bad for this country" and only in the interests of the government and its wish to remain in power.

"Everyone knows what this government is about. It's about increasing its benefits. Taking more money from the public purse for personal interest, increasing salaries of themselves increasing positions, buying vehicles, and, doing nothing no service delivery."

Charlot Salwai during his perjury trial in December 2020
Former Vanuatu prime minister and head of the Reunification of Movement of Change Charlot Salwai Photo: Hilaire Bule

Mr Regenvanu said creating four new ministries will cost taxpayers about 2.6 billion Vatu.

Meanwhile, a former Vanuatu prime minister and head of the Reunification of Movement of Change Charlot Salwai, who is also a current MP in Mr Loughman's coalition government, has also confirmed his party will also boycott today's parliamentary sitting.

Mr Salwai said the people of Vanuatu have not been consulted about the bill.