Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Prime minister loses job after forgetting absence note

The Prime Minister of the tiny Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has been left red-faced and out of a job, after he lost his seat in parliament thanks to a simple paperwork error - he didn't hand in a note explaining his absences.
Prime Minister Edward Natapei fell foul of a rule that members of parliament in Vanuatu will forfeit their seat if they miss three consecutive sittings of parliament without notifying the speaker of the reason for their absence.
All he needed to do while away on official business was hand in a signed note explaining why he wasn't there. But, in a mistake that one analyst called 'flabbergasting', the Prime Minister's office somehow overlooked this rule - with the result that Natapei has now lost his seat, plunging Vanuatu into a political crisis.
Natapei's cabinet hurriedly convened emergency talks, while Natapei himself was reported to be rushing back to Vanuatu from a Commonwealth summit in Trinidad and Tobago.
Vanuatu will now have a caretaker government until the parliament elects a new prime minister next week.

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