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Claim passage of bill was not constitutional

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 6, 2011) – The opposition in Vanuatu National Parliament is calling on the President, Iolu Johnson Abbil, to not sign the bill on the ratification of Vanuatu’s accession to the World Trade Organization.

The office of the opposition says it has asked the president to challenge the constitutionality of the bill in Court.

Last week, during the debate on the bill, the opposition said it did not meet the requirements of international conventions being debated in parliament.

Under Parliament standing orders, a bill on the ratification of an international convention needs 10 days before it can be debated.

[PIR editor’s note: Vanuatu's Minister of Justice, Ralph Regenvanu, has openly stated his opposition to acceptance to the World Trade Organization by the government, supported by the Vanuatu Council of Churches, the Malfatumauri National Council of Chiefs, and other local and international non-governmental organizations. Opposition members of Vanuatu’s parliament have expressed similar concerns about the lack of consultation provided to the people regarding WTO membership.]

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