THE Legislative Assembly of Parliament today unseated ‘Etuate Lavulavu as People’s Representative of Vava’u 16 electoral constituency following the Supreme Court’s ruling at the weekend.
The Speaker of Parliament Lord Tu’ivakano announced this in Parliament when the House reconvenes today.
Last Friday, Lord Chief Justice of Tonga Owen Paulsen ruled that Lavulavu was guilty of breaching Clause 21(5) of the Electoral Act.
“If any candidate is convicted of bribery, whether before or after the relevant election, and he has been elected as a representative at that election, the Court shall declare the election of that representative to be void. And if he has already taken his seat in the Legislative Assembly, he shall be unseated by the Legislative Assembly.”
The Supreme Court also declared Lavulavu’s election in November 2014 as Vava’u 16 electoral MP to be void as well .
This is a civil case in an election petition between Viliami Latu and ‘Aisea Silivenusi versus against ‘Etuate Sungalu Lavulavu.
The Speaker also announces that in accordance with Section 6 of the Legislative Assembly Act if any representative die, resign or cease to be qualified for election under clause 23 and 65 of the Constitution. Or be unseated in accordance with clause 66 of the Constitution or the provisions of the Electoral Act, his seat in the Legislative Assembly becomes vacant.
Lord Tu’ivakano added that Tongatapu 4 electoral MP, Mateni Tapueluelu also lost his seat in Parliament effective on December 11, 2015.
This follows a Supreme Court’s ruling that Tapueluelu’s election as Tongatapu 4 MP was void after the Supreme Court Ruling against the MP.
Meanwhile a by-election has been set by the Speaker and the Electoral Commission for May 26.
The Legislative Assembly of Tonga has now only 24 MPs.