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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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Court Will Hear Petition Challenging Vanuatu PM’s Election
MP Willie Jimmy says unpaid debts should disqualify Kilman

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 20, 2012) – The legal challenge against the eligibility of Vanuatu’s Prime Minister to stand as a candidate in last October’s election will proceed to the hearing stage.

The opposition MP Willie Jimmy’s petition questions why Sato Kilman was allowed to stand despite allegedly not clearing a US$140,000 dollar debt to government.

Other candidates were asked to settle public debts before they could contest the election.

While some petitions have been thrown out at the first stage, Mr. Jimmy’s is to be heard after the Chief Justice agreed to disqualify himself from hearing it.

Mr. Jimmy says the case dates back to the 2008 election when Mr. Kilman was initially excluded from contesting due to the debt.

"And yet he applied to the court, challenging the Electoral Commission’s decision and the Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek then allowed him to contest but also asked him in the order of 2008 that he had to do something to settle this dispute (the debt) between him and government. He hasn’t done anything about it in the last four years."

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