18 Feb 2011

Vanuatu security tightened for today's parliamentary challenge

11:14 am on 18 February 2011

Vanuatu's commissioner of police, Joshua Bong, says they have increased security around parliament ahead of a vote of no confidence scheduled for today.

The government of the prime minister Sato Kilman is under intense pressure, with the opposition claiming the backing of 34 of the 52 MPs.

The vote comes amid rumours that a coup d'etat could be staged by police, but Commissioner Bong has brushed them aside.

He was summoned to the prime minister's office after the rumours first circulated.

Mr Bong says the force is maintaining its neutrality during the political crisis and will let the politicians solve the situation.

He also says the Vanuatu para-military force, the VMF, the police and the Vanuatu Maritime Force are united.