5 Nov 2015

Vanuatu speaker turns down opposition request

1:52 pm on 5 November 2015

The acting speaker of Vanuatu's parliament says he will not bow to pressure from the opposition group to call a sitting of parliament this afternoon.

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Vanuatu parliament Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel

Samson Samsen's statement is in response to an ultimatum issued by the opposition earlier in the week threatening legal action if parliament was not convened today to pass the 2016 budget.

The parliament remains in a deadlock after the jailing of 14 government MPs convicted of bribery last month.

The opposition doesn't have enough members to force a motion of no confidence.

One opposition MP Ralph Regenvanu says the budget should be passed as soon as possible to allow government services to continue if the political impasse cannot be resolved and the country's President, Baldwin Lonsdale, decides to dissolve parliament.

However, the acting speaker of parliament says he will only call parliament after consultations with the Prime Minister's office and the confirmation of a formal agenda for the sitting.

The president has given the politicians until tomorrow to resolve the crisis.