Nauru MP: New Candidate Law Designed To Eliminate Rivals

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Public servants must quit job 3 months before elections

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 3, 2016) – A Nauru opposition MP says a new law that requires public servants intending to stand for parliament to quit their job three months before the election is designed to eliminate political rivals.

The bill was passed during a sitting of parliament last week, with the government justifying it by saying public servants who continued to work could abuse their position while campaigning.

But a former president Sprent Dabwido, who has been suspended from parliament since the middle of last year, said three months is too long for many people to go without an income.

The public service is Nauru's largest employer, and Mr Dabwido said the new rule is designed to put many people off contesting the election, which is due some time this year.

"Three months, that's six pay cheques. If you've got a wife and kids, how can you go on for three months without a salary? These kinds of laws are made especially for the government themselves. Really, it's a law that is...it's an unfair law, it's really unfair."

Calls to the Nauru government have so far gone unanswered.

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