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Australia Deputy PM disqualified from office

An Australian court on Friday ruled that Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and four other politicians were wrongly elected because they held dual citizenship, the media reported.

The High Court of Australia’s ruling means Joyce, Nationals leader Fiona Nash and One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts were disqualified from office, reports the BBC.

The Greens Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam had already resigned from the Senate in July.

Australia’s constitution prohibits dual citizens from being elected.

Joyce’s exit strips the government of its one-seat majority, but he could return through a likely by-election.

The Deputy Prime Minister, who renounced New Zealand citizenship in August, has pledged to re-contest his lower house seat.

“I respect the verdict of the court,” the BBC quoted Joyce as saying immediately after the verdict.

“We live in a marvellous democracy, with all the checks and balances they have given us all the freedoms we see. I thank the court (for) their deliberations.”

Another two politicians under scrutiny, senators Matt Canavan and Nick Xenophon, were ruled to have been validly elected.

The dual citizenship saga has captivated Australian politics since July, prompting dozens of MPs to publicly clarify their status.

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