Vanuatu PM Denies He Plans To Release Jailed MPs

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

Opposition claims Salwai’s 100 day plan includes pardons

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 1, 2016) – Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai has denied opposition reports of a plan by the government to release 14 jailed former MPs as part of its 100-day plan.

In October, 14 MPs were jailed after they were convicted of bribery, triggering a deadlock in parliament that prompted the president to call a snap election.

The Prime Minister's Office said any thought of releasing the MPs was not any part of its development plan.

The denial comes after the Leader of Opposition Ishmael Kalsakau paid a courtesy call to the Head of State.

During that visit he was reported as saying he understood the government included a pardoning of the prisoners in its development plan.

Meanwhile the Parole Board is understood to have rejected applications by the jailed MPs for early release on the grounds that they have yet to serve half of their three or four year sentences.

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