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Vanuatu Opposition to stay away from Parliament again

The Vanuatu Opposition will not attend a special sitting of Parliament next Friday after the Speaker adjourned an earlier session due to a lack of quorum.

Opposition Leader Ralph Regenvanu confirmed the Opposition will not attend the sitting.

He made the comment after the Opposition and several Government MPs did not attend the special sitting last Friday where the Government was going to table amendments to the Constitution.

RNZ Pacific reports Prime Minister Bob Loughman's government needs the support of 34 MPs out of 52 to make changes to the country's constitution.

But Mr Loughman's side was short by 3 MPs after the boycott by 7 MPs from the Reunion of Movement for Change party, led by former Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai.

Regenvanu confirmed this morning the government had repealed "certain items" from the 16 proposed amendments overnight, after objections.

But he said, "There are two very disturbing and dangerous proposals in these Parliamentary amendments which directly attack good governance in the country."

The two changes include introducing a term of five years for the office of the Chief Justice, and a change to the process for the appointment of the Ombudsman.

Regenvanu said previously the Ombudsman was appointed by the president after consultation with the Prime Minister, the Speaker, leaders of political parties, presidents of the Council of Chiefs and provincial councils, chairman of the Public Service Commission and the Judicial Services Commission.

However, the amendment will only require the President to make the appointment after consulting the Prime Minister.