4 Nov 2015

Vanuatu opposition prepared to support 2016 budget

8:38 am on 4 November 2015

Vanuatu's opposition says it is prepared to support the prime minister Sato Kilman to pass a budget for 2016.

The country's parliament is currently in a deadlock following the jailing last month of 14 MPs after they were convicted of bribery.

Mr Kilman, who now leads a minority government, refuses to stand down, but the opposition doesn't have the numbers to force a motion of no confidence.

An oppositon MP, Ralph Regenvanu, says a session of parliament needs to be convened so a budget can be passed but the speaker, Marcellino Pipite, is one of the jailed MPs.

However, Mr Regenvanu says the acting speaker, Samson Samsen, is able to convene parliament in his absence.

"It's essential that we pass the budget. The government has not called the second ordinary session but the opposition has informed the prime minister that the opposition will support the budget on the floor of parliament, even though the government doesn't have the majority, we will back the government up to make sure the budget goes through to meet all the various requirements to allow the country to function."

Ralph Regenvanu says if Mr Samsen doesn't summon parliament by Thursday afternoon, the opposition will take legal action.

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