Vanuatu's Prime Minister Moana Carcasses has sacked the Finance Minister Willie Jimmy amid reports the veteran politician was in talks with the opposition about a possible defection.
Mr Jimmy, who is the leader of the Vanuatu Liberal Party, is to be replaced as Finance Minister by Maki Simelum of the Vanua'aku Pati, who had been Justice Minister.
The Justice portfolio is to be taken up by Silas Yatan, who belongs to the Prime Minister's Greens Party.
Mr Jimmy says he had had no intention of leaving the government coalition but his sacking has changed his view.
"We have been a friend for a long time with Mr Carcasses since back in 1983, I have been a very good friend to Mr Carcasses since then, and I never dreamed he was going to listen to others and betray me as he did today, so his action today poses a great question on our future relationship with Mr Carcasses."
Vanuatu's former Finance Minister Willie Jimmy.