Vanuatu's parliament is set to elect a new Prime Minister after a major oversight led to the incumbent prime minister's seat being declared vacant for violating a standing order prohibiting three consecutive unexplained absences.
Prime Minister Edward Natapei was attending a Commonwealth summit and missed three consecutive sittings of parliament without notifying the speaker. A note explaining he was absent on official business would have seen him retain his seat.
The event is not unprecedented in the small island nation. In the 1980s another member of parliament lost his seat to the same standing order. He launched a legal appeal but was unsuccessful.