French Minister Blames Political Process for French Polanisia Instability; Tonga Passes Legislation to Encourage Reforms; Outgoing Vanuatu MP Challenges Constitutionality of Electoral Law

By Hayley J. Campbell
Impunity Watch Reporter, Oceania

PAPEETE, Tahiti —  Despite political elections in March, a junior French oversea territories minister is attributing political instability in French Polynesia to the “quarrels and personal ambitions among local leaders” reports Radio New Zealand International.

Jego Yves, the junior French oversea territories minister, says that for the political system to change reforms must start with politicians in Papeete. According to Yves, the key politicians in the capital city are responsible for destabilizing the political system largely because they force local mayors into making deals.

In addition, Yves criticizes the electoral process because he feels the system is corrupt from within. If the two past two elections have not produced better results, says Yves, then new elections are not the answer.

For more information, please see:
Radio New Zealand International — French minister blames Tahiti politics for instability — 24 July 2008


NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA — Tonga’s Parliament has passed new legislation which seeks to promote greater reforms within the executive and legislature.

The new bill sets up a nine member Commission. Five of those members will be appointed by cabinet including one from the Nobles and People’s Representatives, and the remaining two from the Judicial Services Commission.

The Commission’s job will be to recommend reforms and changes to help facilitate the relationship between the executive and legislature. The Commission will have ten months in order to submit their recommendations to the Privy Council and Legislative Assembly. Among its appointed powers, the Commission can call a national Constitution Convention within seven months of appointment.

As a separation of powers measure, the bill has stipulated that a member of the Commission will not be allowed to serve in the Legislative Assembly or cabinet.

For more information, please see:
Pacific News – New Constitution bill in Tonga paves the way for political reforms – 24 July 2008

PORT VILA, Vanuatu — Outgoing Vanuatu member of Parliament and Chairman to the Melanesian Progressive Party, Barak Sope, is claiming that an electoral law gives certain politicians an unfair advantage.

Sobe is challenging the constitutionality of Peoples Representation Act No. 33 or 2007. The Act, Sobe says, allows people not within the constituencies of Port Vila and Luganville to vote in two municipal constituencies.

In addition, Sobe claims the legislation allows chiefs and landowners to decide where people residing on their property can vote. Sobe has secured legal representation, and maintains that if his constitutional challenge is successful, a restraining order against the electoral office will ensue, effectively delaying elections until the matter is resolved.

The elections are scheduled for September 2, but may be delayed if Sobe’s constitutional challenge is successful.

For more information, please see:
Radio New Zealand International — Vanuatu elections could be delayed by constitutional challenge — 24 July 2008

Author: Impunity Watch Archive