21 Nov 2015

Vanuatu leaders try to solve impasse as parliament is called

7:27 pm on 21 November 2015

The acting speaker in Vanuatu has summoned parliament to sit for its second session next week which will allow the government to pass a budget.

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Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel

However, the government will be short 14 jailed MPs who lost their seats after their appeal against their convictions for bribery was rejected by the country's highest court on Friday.

The Court of Appeal also dismissed the MPs' appeal against President Baldwin Lonsdale's decision to revoke their self-imposed pardon.

The parliament has been at an impasse since their conviction last month, with prime minister Sato Kilman refusing to stand down, and the opposition not having the numbers to force a motion of no confidence.

Our correspondent says the government and the opposition have spent Saturday meeting to try and reach a solution to end the impasse ahead of president Baldwin Lonsdale's Sunday deadline.

Mr Lonsdale has threatened to dissolve parliament if a solution is not reached.

The opposition has proposed forming a government of national unity until next year's election, and has also offered Sato Kilman its support in order to pass a budget.

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