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Vanuatu PM loses parliamentary seat over blunder

27 November 09 13:35

The prime minister of Vanuatu has been stripped of his position and parliamentary seat because of a basic paperwork error.

Edward Natapei, who has been attending a Commonwealth summit, missed three consecutive sittings without submitting a written explanation for his absence.

Under Vanuatu's law, this means he must forfeit his seat.

The Pacific island-nation will now be ruled by a caretaker government until MPs elect a new prime minister.

The vote is expected next week, and there will also be a by-election for Mr Natapei's seat.

To have retained his seat, Mr Natapei - who is now flying back from the Commonwealth summit in Trinidad and Tobago - needed simply to have notified the parliamentary Speaker.

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