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Former Sports Minister elected Vanuatu Speaker

Former Vanuatu Minister of Youth and Sports, Seule Simeon, has been elected Speaker of Parliament.

The election took place Friday –less than 24 hours after his resignation as Sports Minister — when the First Extraordinary Session of parliament resumed after it was adjourned las Tuesday.

Former Speaker Esmon Saimon voluntary tendered his resignation Friday before the motion to remove him and his second deputy could be presented.

According to the Parliament Standing Order 5(1), if the speaker wishes to resign he shall send a written notice thereof to the Clerk. Such a notice shall state the date on which the resignation shall take effect.

The Opposition bloc raised the question as to why Speaker Saimon tendered his resignation and addressed it to the Prime Minister Charlot Salwai instead of addressing it to the Clerk of parliament as stated by the standing order.

Parliament Clerk Raymond Manuake then sought legal advice from the State Law Office and they asserted a notice of resignation had been issued and there was a vacancy.

To elect a speaker, Standing Order 4(2), stipulates the senior member of parliament shall preside over the debate for the election of speaker.

Accordingly, the senior member of the house, Malekula MP and a former Prime Minister, Sato Kilman presided the election of the new Speaker.

Three nominees were given from both sides of the house, MP Simeon for the government, MP Edwin Macreveth and MP Esmon Saimon.

Macreveth declined the nomination.

Simeon was elected with 29 votes and Saimon secured 22. Subsequently MP Gracia Chadrach was elected as the second deputy speaker of parliament.

Parliament will resume next Wednesday for the special sitting on the constitutional amendment bill.

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