VANUATU APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS DISSOLUTION OF PARLIAMENT

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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (January 9, 1998 - PACNEWS)---The Appeals Court of Vanuatu has ruled that the dissolution of the country's parliament by President Jean-Marie Leye on November 27 last year was lawful, proper and constitutional.

In the ruling, head of the bench, New Zealand judge Bruce Robertson, said there was insufficient evidence to show the court that the President's actions and call for fresh elections were illegal, Radio Vanuatu reports.

He said in a 14-page statement that President Leye had acted on the request of the Council of Ministers in the light of the present political crisis in the country. The Head of State also acted as a neutral person under powers vested in him, Robertson added, by the constitution.

The Supreme Court ruled that the dissolution of parliament is now deemed to have taken place today, January 9, and the President was given seven days to announce a date for new elections.

President Leye appealed the case after the Supreme Court ruled that his decision was unconstitutional and ordered parliament reinstated.

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