4 Nov 2015

Vanuatu ultimatum to secure 2016 budget

4:11 pm on 4 November 2015

Vanuatu's opposition has issued an ultimatum for the acting speaker to convene parliament so the 2016 budget can be passed.

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

An opposition MP, Ralph Regenvanu, says according to constitution a second session of parliament needs to be held to pass next year's budget but the speaker, Marcellino Pipite, is one of the jailed MPs.

He says the opposition has threatened legal action if the acting speaker, Samson Samsen, doesn't call parliament by Thursday afternoon.

Mr Regenvanu says it's essential a budget is passed to keep the country going, and to resolve the deadlock if the president, Baldwin Lonsdale, opts to dissolve parliament.

"The problem is if you dissolve parliament without an appropriated budget for an election, then what's going to happen? What we're saying to the government is [to] call parliament and get the budget passed -- the opposition doesn't have the numbers to get rid of the prime minister, that doesn't matter, we'll make sure the budget passes so that if we do get to the final option of dissolution there is at least an appropriated budget for the election."